Inequalities and their impacts in European societies. An account of the research project after two years. Mid-Term Conference, Budapest, Friday–Saturday 2012 March 23–24. Political and cultural impacts of growing inequalities Workpackage 5 research report
An account of the research project after two years.
Mid-Term Conference, Budapest, Friday–Saturday
2012 March 23–24.
Political and cultural impacts of growing inequalities
Workpackage 5 research report
Workpackage coordinators: Herman Van de Werfhorst and István György Tóth
Contributors to this report: Brian Burgoon
István György Tóth
Herman Van de Werfhorst
Version March 13, 2012
Discussant: Jonas Pontusson (Université de Genéve)
Studied (related) variables:
- actual and perceived
-measured by hhold income
- type: distance, variance,
- testing the link between inequality and preferences for redistribution
yield results here in favour of the basic political economy model,
suggesting that inequality positively associates with preferences for
- the broken link between inequality and redistribution is attributable to how
preferences for redistribution are transformed into redistribution itself.
- there is a negative association between inequality and the salience of
redistribution issues in left-right selfplacement. Points to reversed causality:
low salience of redistribution in the political sphere leads to more dispersed
income distributions. (van der Meer and Hakhverdian)
- inequality affects value systems which can be assumed to affect
political preferences and positioning in the long-run (Corneo)
- inequality is related to anti-globalization backlash in party
an apparent contradiction in the findings and lessons for further research
1: citizens living in high inequality countries are usually more accepting
higher levels of inequality than individuals living in less unequal societies.
(Yaish and Andersen)
2: individuals living in more unequal societies are in favour of more redistribution
(Tóth and Keller) and government intervention (Zagorski and Piotrowska),
and have a more negative attitude to inequality (Medgyesi).
3: salience of traditional (i.e. economic) left-right issues is higher in more
egalitarian societies (Hakhverdian and Van der Meer). Inequality levels seem to be
the consequence rather than the cause of low salience of economic redistribution.
To be studied further: how political systems translate between inequality, demand
for redistribution and actual levels fo redistribution
Tolerance to Inequality
Preference for redistribution
Salience of economic redistribution
Even if redistribution is desired, a low salience of redistribution translates into low political willpower to combat inequality.
Figure 1. Cross-country and inter-temporal relationship between income inequality and attitudes to
inequality (pooled WVS/EVS data)
Source: Medgyesi (2011)
Figure 2.– Effect of income on social participation for observed values of MDMI above and belowthe median income
Source: Lancee and van de Werfhorst (2011: 31)
Figure 3. – Association of inequality with turnout observed values of MDMI above and below
Note: predicted probabilities are for a 40 year old man with average income, who finished education at age 18
Source: Horn (2011a: 22)
Figure 4. – Inequality and redistributive preference index (RPI) in European countries
Source: Tóth and Keller (2011: 30)
Figure 7.1. Marginal effect of redistribution on left (RPI) in European countries-rightself-placement.
Source: Hakhverdian and Van der Meer presentation slides
Figure (RPI) in European countries7.3: How Social Security transfers reduce the effect
of gross inequality on anti-globalization.
Figure 7.2: Anti-globalization positions and Income
inequality (national means, 1980-2008).
Source: Burgoon (2011: 22)
Source: Burgoon (2011: 31)
Figure 8.1a and 8.1b. Public Opinion on Democracy by (a) level of economic development and (b) incomeinequality.
Note: Trend lines are lowess smooths fitted to the data with outliers (Switzerland CH and Russia RU) omitted.
Source: Andersen, 2011.
Figures 8.2a and 8.2b. The interaction between individual-level income and income inequality
Note: Effect display showing the interaction between individual-level income and income inequality (measured by the Gini coefficient)
in their effects on support for democracy. Dotted lines represent 95% confidence bands.
Source: Andersen, 2011