Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Misinformation, and the Drive for Income Equality

There’s new and provocative research out of Sweden entitled “Richer (and Holier) Than Thou? The Effect of Relative Income Improvements on Demand for Redistribution”.

… A vast majority of Swedes believe that they are poorer, relative to others, than they actually are. This is true across groups, but younger, poorer, less cognitively able and less educated individuals have perceptions that are further from reality.

To put it more bluntly, people pushing an agenda for income redistribution will have better luck if their target market is young, dumb, and ignorant.

Then the authors try a little social engineering:

… We conduct an experiment by randomly informing a subsample about their true relative income position. Respondents who learn that they are richer than they thought demand less redistribution and increase their support for the Conservative party.

Their evidence of this is based on before and after responses to survey questions, not actual voting records.

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