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Judith Niehues IW-Trends No. 1 2. April 2019 Subjective Redistribution Preferences in Germany: Popular Will and Political Reality

Survey data suggest that a majority of Germans want the government to reduce income disparities. This subjective preference for redistribution has increased markedly in the past decade, regardless of the actual development of distribution ratios, which have hardly changed since 2005.

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Popular Will and Political Reality
Judith Niehues IW-Trends No. 1 2. April 2019

Subjective Redistribution Preferences in Germany: Popular Will and Political Reality

IW-Trends

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

Survey data suggest that a majority of Germans want the government to reduce income disparities. This subjective preference for redistribution has increased markedly in the past decade, regardless of the actual development of distribution ratios, which have hardly changed since 2005.

Germany is by no means the only country in which the majority of citizens hold the state responsible for reducing the income gap between rich and poor. Yet in Germany this desire for equality is above the rich-country average, even though few OECD countries actually achieve a greater level of redistribution through government levies and transfers. A detailed examination of redistribution preferences reveals little interest in expanding expenditure expressly designed to benefit less privileged groups. Where taxes are concerned, the broad population favours a greater degree of progression. However, furthr survey results suggest that the redistributive effect already achieved by the income tax system is considerably underestimated. At the same time, polls indicate a marked preference for recognisable income differences as long as they are seen to be justified by performance. It would therefore make sense, while not ignoring conventional inequality indicators, to focus more closely on measures of equality of opportunity and rewards for performance, as this would make clearer whether the policies implemented really address the perceived deficits in fairness that interest voters.

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Popular Will and Political Reality
Judith Niehues IW-Trends No. 1 2. April 2019

Judith Niehues: Subjektive Umverteilungspräferenzen in Deutschland – Wunsch und Wirklichkeit

IW-Trends

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

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Attitudes towards social mobility
Maximilian Stockhausen IW-Report No. 58 18. November 2023

IW Distribution Report 2023: Attitudes towards social mobility

Fundamentally linked to the social market economy is the idea that everyone has the opportunity for social advancement, regardless of their social background, and that children should be better off than their parents.

IW

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Matthias Diermeier / Ruth Maria Schüler IW-Trends No. 4 13. November 2023

Changing Germany's Statutory Pension Insurance: An Empirical Study of Popular Aversion to Reforms

The demographic transition is putting the German statutory pension insurance system under enormous pressure to reform. Despite widespread concern, no reform of the adjustment mechanisms incorporated into the pension system meets with the approval of a majority ...

IW

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