Most people are risk averse

Income & assets

Risk averse want income redistribution

Risk-averse people would like the state to redistribute their income to a greater extent. Women and the elderly in particular fall into this group.

In every society there are people who either earn more or less than the average. The state can compensate for these income differences within certain limits with the help of taxes and grants. But not everyone wants such a redistribution.

This is shown by a Swedish survey by Statistics Sweden, which the German Institute for Economic Research presents in its current weekly report. Accordingly, the willingness to take risks and income play the main role in redistribution preferences.

The less money is available, the stronger the desire for changes by the state. This is also one of the main reasons why more women than men want intervention, because women earn less on average than their male colleagues. But even without the income difference, there remains a gender difference of two percentage points. It is the same between older and younger people. A 60-year-old would like an average of three percentage points more redistribution than a 20-year-old. This can also be explained by a lower income in retirement compared to working life.

Performance-oriented people do not want redistribution

In addition to the available income, however, the willingness to take risks is the most important factor. The more risks are avoided, the more the person concerned longs for government changes. According to the study, women, the elderly and people with a family background in the working class place the greatest emphasis on safety. People with low incomes are therefore more risk averse and are therefore more in favor of redistribution.

Incidentally, this also applies to people who believe in happiness rather than effort. Performance-oriented people, on the other hand, would like significantly less government intervention to compensate for income differences.

Social position is crucial

In the end, the economic position is decisive for the preferences. That only seems logical. The less money an individual has, the more subsidies he wants from the state. On the contrary, those who earn a lot want to give as little of it as possible. According to the authors of the study, citizens often see redistribution as insurance for possible loss of income. "This insurance is most important to those who are less willing to take risks," explains study author Manja Gärtner.

However, the individual sense of justice also plays a role. So selfless people are more likely to speak out in favor of redistribution than selfish people. Selflessness was measured by the amount of money respondents would donate to charity if they suddenly made a profit.

Redistribution preferences can change

In addition, additional information can change the distribution preferences. People who are told that they earn relatively more than they thought they are less willing to intervene. Conversely, the same applies to people who learn that they have overestimated their chances of advancement in society.

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