Vladimir Gimpelson1, Galina Monusova1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Perception of Inequality and Social Mobility

2014. Vol. 18. No. 2. P. 216–248 [issue contents]

We explore perceptions of inequality and attitudes toward redistribution exploiting ISSP and LiTS cross-country data sets. These perceptions vary across countries as well as across individuals within countries. We try to explain this variation using variation in opportunities for vertical social mobility available to individuals. The main research question is whether individual perceptions of income differentiation are driven by experience of past mobility and availability of channels leading upward. In other words, is more socially mobile society more tolerant to income inequality than less mobile and segmented? An intuitive answer seems obvious yes but empirical evidence is still scarce.

Our key hypothesis speculates that tolerance of individuals to a given inequality level is positively associated with previous experience of vertical mobility. This experience includes the scale of mobility as well as the perception of how legitimate and just are ways to success. In there search literature, this view is associated with “the tunnel effect” proposed by A. Hirschman. The paper explores this effect using three different cross-country data sets that cover different countries and use varying definitions and measures of social mobility. The estimates appear robust to various specifications in ordered probit regressions.

Citation: Gimpelson V. (2014) Vospriyatie neravenstva i sotsial'naya mobil'nost' [Perception of Inequality and Social Mobility]. HSE Economic Journal, vol. 18, no 2, pp. 216-248 (in Russian)
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