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What do Germans think and know about income inequality? A survey experiment

Working Paper 2016-389

Abstract

Germans are unable to assess their own position in the income distribution of their country and do not know much about income inequality and stratification. They are well aware of their ignorance. Germans would prefer society to be more egalitarian than they perceive it. Providing accurate information about the income distribution does not change this preference for more redistribution – except among those who learn that they are net contributors in the German tax-transfer system.

Authors: Carina Engelhardt, Andreas Wagener.

Keywords: Biased perceptions, preferences for redistribution, Germany.
JEL: H53, D72, D31.