Comparative Politics

Group Belongingness and Redistribution Preference: A Survey Experiment in Japan



The political economy of redistribution preference sheds new light on the role of social identification in the process of preference formation and change. Group identity is an undeniable factor that shapes redistribution preference. Echoing the recent advance of the literature, I argue that individuals identify with an income group whose household income is similar to theirs. In-group favoritism arises within that income group. This mechanism makes the poor more supportive of income redistribution while the rich provide less support for redistribution. I also contend that the nation/foreigner cleavage plays a significant role. Native citizens find little to no reason to perceive proximity with foreign-born residents, which renders them less supportive of income redistribution in general. I test these arguments experimentally with a nationally representative sample of Japanese people.


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