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Cognitive Ability and the Demand for Redistribution

Show simple item record Mollerstrom, Johanna Seim, David 2015-09-16T15:53:44Z 2015-09-16T15:53:44Z 2014-10-24
dc.identifier.citation Mollerstrom J, Seim D (2014) Cognitive Ability and the Demand for Redistribution. PLoS ONE 9(10): e109955. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109955 en_US
dc.description.abstract Empirical research suggests that the cognitively able are politically more influential than the less able, by being more likely to vote and to assume leadership positions. This study asks whether this pattern matters for public policy by investigating what role a person's cognitive ability plays in determining his preferences for redistribution of income among citizens in society. To answer this question, we use a unique Swedish data set that matches responses to a tailor-made questionnaire to administrative tax records and to military enlistment records for men, with the latter containing a measure of cognitive ability. On a scale of 0 to 100 percent redistribution, a one-standard-deviation increase in cognitive ability reduces the willingness to redistribute by 5 percentage points, or by the same amount as a $35,000 increase in mean annual income. We find support for two channels mediating this economically strong and statistically significant relation. First, higher ability is associated with higher income. Second, ability is positively correlated with the view that economic success is the result of effort, rather than luck. Both these factors are, in turn, related to lower demand for redistribution
dc.description.sponsorship Financial support for this project is gratefully acknowledged from: the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation (, grant number: E56-10), Kungliga VetenskapsAkademin (, grant number: FOA10H-172) and the Lab for Economics Applications and Policy at Harvard (, grant number: 370 31890 017599 619701 0012 50963). Publication of this article was funded in part by the George Mason University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund en_US
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_US
dc.rights Attribution 3.0 United States *
dc.rights.uri *
dc.subject cognition
dc.subject surveys en_US
dc.subject altruistic behavior
dc.subject Schools en_US
dc.subject Sweden en_US
dc.subject demography
dc.subject educational attainment
dc.subject questionnaires en_US
dc.title Cognitive Ability and the Demand for Redistribution en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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