Concrete and Whole-Picture Type Indices to Measure Redistributive Preference: Analysing Japanese Nationwide Survey Data

Concrete and Whole-Picture Type Indices to Measure Redistributive Preference: Analysing Japanese Nationwide Survey Data

Presentation at TASA Conference, Sydney, Australia, November 28, 2019

What is the conflict over income redistribution policy like? Empirical studies explaining peoples' redistributive preference, including sociological ones, have repeatedly confirmed those with economically weaker positions tend to support redistribution, which is consistent with self-interest argument. However, most of the studies utilize natural-language based responses in surveys, and also express concern about ambiguity in wording. In the present study we are to analyse concrete and whole-picture type indices instead.
Specifically, we introduce a set of questionnaire items, where respondents answer the desirable concrete amounts of tax and benefit for each household, and also the unemployment benefit, in a fictional society. This battery was adopted in JHPS survey conducted in Japan in 2011 and 2012. Using this, we can know how strong/weak redistribution policy people desire, letting respondents answer looking at the "whole picture" of a society.
Then we show analysis results from the obtained data. Interestingly, there is no evidence that economically weaker people tend to favour stronger redistribution; on the contrary, we find that the better-educated sometimes tend to prefer stronger redistribution. The results imply the conflict over concrete redistribution levels is not based on economic self-interest.

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Koji Yamamoto

November 28, 2019
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