We argue that support for redistribution increases when one experiences "positional deprivation," where one's own income increases slower or decreases faster compared to that of others in one's country. This specific combination of economic suffering over-time and relative to others, we explain, has effects beyond well-studied measures of suffering that are static and/or absolute in nature, such as the level and growth of household income.
The article empirically explores this hypothesis by using objective measures of positional deprivation derived from the Luxembourg Income Studies and the European Social Survey, and by using subjective measures of positional deprivation derived from an original survey in 13 European countries.
We find that those whose recent income growth is outpaced by the average and/or richest members of their country are significantly more likely to support redistribution. Furthermore, we find that these effects of positional deprivation hold above-and-beyond static and/or absolute measures of economic experience.
This seminar is organised by the Inequality, Welfare and Social Justice Interdisciplinary Research Cluster.