Economic Inequality and U.S. Public Policy Mood Across Space and Time

Journal Article (Journal Article)

While classic theories suggest that growing inequality will generate mass support for redistribution, recent research suggests the opposite: increases in inequality in the United States are associated with decreases in support for redistribution among both low and high income citizens. We reconsider this conclusion. First, we examine the methods of this research, and find that the claims made are not robust to important corrections in model specification. We then utilize a distinct methodological approach, leveraging spatial variation in local inequality, and examine average differences in preferences across geographic context. Here we find a small, but positive relationship of inequality to support for redistribution. In both our reexamination of previous work and our extensions, we find little support for the claim that inequality reduces the demand for redistribution.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Johnston, CD; Newman, BJ

Published Date

  • January 1, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 164 - 191

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3373

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1532-673X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1532673X15588361

Citation Source

  • Scopus