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Aversion to inequality in Italy and its determinants


The main goal of this paper is to estimate the preferences of the Italian society towards equity in order to verify whether preferences (i) have changed across the years, and (ii) can be related to specific socio-demographic characteristics. Introducing equity concerns in the implementation of economic policies is a fundamental problem faced by both economists and policy makers. This paper uses a social welfare function à la Jorgenson and Slesnick to estimate society’s aversion towards inequality by implementing a voting scheme for compiling individuals’ equity preferences into a social choice by majority rule. The results show that preferences are highly polarized toward a low and a high concern for equity aversion and that this concern is significantly related with several sociodemographic characteristics. Among them, income plays an important role with richer people tending to favor less equity. Results also show that preferences towards equity have changed across the years.

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Correspondence to Vincenzo Atella.

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Atella, V., Coggins, J. & Perali, F. Aversion to inequality in Italy and its determinants. J Econ Inequal 2, 117–144 (2004).

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  • inequality
  • majority rule
  • social welfare function
  • voting scheme