Personal Income and Attitudes toward Redistribution: A Study of Lottery Winners


Daniel J. Doherty, Alan S. Gerber, Donald P. Green

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Doherty, Daniel J., Alan S. Gerber & Donald P. Green (2006) "Personal Income and Attitudes toward Redistribution: A Study of Lottery Winners." Political Psychology 27(3): 441-458. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2006.00509.x
In order to estimate the effects of affluence on political attitudes, we conducted interviews with 342 people who had won the lottery between 1983 and 2000 in an Eastern state. A parallel survey of the general public was also conducted. Comparing winners of varying amounts, we find that lottery-induced affluence increases hostility toward estate taxes, marginally increases hostility towards government redistribution, but has little effect on broader attitudes concerning economic stratification or the role of government as a provider of social insurance. These results bolster previous findings suggesting that economic self-interest influences policy preferences when policy consequences are perceived as salient. At the same time, the findings suggest the limited influence that material concerns have on one’s broad political outlook.
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