EU level evidence on income inequality, preferences for redistribution and polarization

Last registered on May 23, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
EU level evidence on income inequality, preferences for redistribution and polarization
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009439
Initial registration date
May 22, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 23, 2022, 7:22 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Joint Research Centre European Commission

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Joint Research Centre European Commission
PI Affiliation
Joint Research Centre European Commission
PI Affiliation
Economics Department at George Mason University

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-05-30
End date
2022-06-26
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
While economic theory predicts that individuals' relative income position influences their preferences for redistribution, evidence from previous surveys did not find systematic differences in preferences for redistribution between richer and poorer individuals.
Previous research has found that individuals systematically misperceive their own position in the national income distribution and that they change their preferences for redistribution when informed about their true position, but results differ across countries.
In this study, we investigate how wrong beliefs about the position in the national income distribution affect preferences for redistribution, as well as perceptions about the fairness of inequality and the degree of political polarization, in 27 European countries. We also explore potential heterogeneities depending on key background characteristics of respondents, such as the income level and political preferences. We do this by introducing an information-provision experiment in a wave of the Eurobarometer, a representative survey of all 27 countries of the EU.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Berlingieri, Francesco et al. 2022. "EU level evidence on income inequality, preferences for redistribution and polarization." AEA RCT Registry. May 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9439
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Individuals in the treatment group receive easy-to-digest information about their true position in the national income distribution.
Individuals in the control group do not receive any information.
Intervention Start Date
2022-05-30
Intervention End Date
2022-06-26

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. fairness perception about inequality,
2. preferences for redistribution,
3. polarization perceptions
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Outcomes are answers to the following questions:
1. An important task of the government is to tax the rich in order to support the poor
2. Large differences in people’s incomes are acceptable to properly reward differences in talents and efforts
3. People who support parties to the left and to the right on the political spectrum have very different views on society, its challenges and what should be done to meet them

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We designed a survey experiment to study preferences for redistribution as well as perceptions about inequality and polarization in a wave of the Eurobarometer, a representative survey of all 27 countries of the EU. The survey experiment leverages the fact that preferences for redistribution tend to be determined not so much by whether individuals are rich or poor, but whether they perceive themselves to be rich or poor. We first elicit respondents’ perceptions about their household’s position in the national income distributions. We then introduce an information-provision experiment to create exogenous variations in those perceptions. Individuals are randomly assigned to a control group that receives no information or to a treatment group that receives easy-to-digest information about their true positions in the national income distributions.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
randomization done by survey company
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
27 countries with 600-800 individuals in each country
Sample size: planned number of observations
27 countries with approximately 600-800 individuals in each country
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
equal split of sample into treatment and control:
approximately 300-400 individuals in each country in the treatment and 300-400 individuals - in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number