Social Mobility and Demand for Redistribution in Europe. a Comparative Analysis

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Antonio M. JAIME-CASTILLO, University of Malaga, Spain
Ildefonso MARQUÉS-PERALES, University of Sevilla, Spain
The literature on preferences for redistribution has paid little attention to the effect of social mobility on the demand for redistribution, which contrasts with the literature on class-voting, and no systematic test of the hypotheses connecting social mobility and preferences for redistribution has yet been done to the date. We use the diagonal reference model to estimate the effect of origin and destination classes on preferences for redistribution in a large sample of European countries using data from the European Social Survey. Our findings are consistent with the logic of acculturation in the sense that newcomers tend to adapt their views to those of the destination class at early stages and that upward and downward mobility do not have distinctive effects on the formation of political preferences. However, even though social origins seem to have a limited impact on preferences for redistribution, we cannot accept the hypothesis that mobile and non-mobile individuals are alike. We also find that the effect of social origin on preferences varies largely across countries. The empirical evidence leads to the conclusion that the effect of social origin on preferences for redistribution increases in contexts of strong familism. Finally, social mobility has a limited impact on the distribution of preferences for redistribution. This is mostly because the potential reduction in class polarization caused by the high weight of social origin is partially cancelled by low rates of social mobility in some countries, while the potential increase in class polarization caused by the low weight of social origin is cancelled by high rates of social mobility in other countries.