Inequality Perceptions, Distributional Norms, and Redistributive Preferences in East and West Germany

March 29, 2011

By: Kuhn, Andreas (University of Zurich)


This paper studies differences in inequality perceptions, distributional norms, and redistributive preferences between East and West Germany. As expected, there are substantial differences with respect to all three of these measures. Surprisingly, however, differences in distributional norms are much smaller than differences with respect to inequality perceptions or redistributive preferences. Nonetheless, individuals from East Germany tend to be more supportive of state redistribution and progressive taxation, and less likely to have a conservative political orientation, even conditional on having the same inequality perceptions and distributional norms.

Keywords: subjective inequality indices, redistributive preferences, political preferences

JEL: D31



The Threat Effect of Participation in Active Labor Market Programs on Job Search Behavior of Migrants in Germany

March 21, 2011

By:Bergemann, Annette Caliendo, Marco van den Berg, Gerard J Zimmermann, Klaus F


Labor market programs may affect unemployed individuals’ behavior before they enroll. Such ex ante effects may differ according to ethnic origin. We apply a novel method that relates self-reported perceived treatment rates and job search behavioral outcomes, such as the reservation wage or search intensity, to each other. We compare German native workers with migrants with a Turkish origin or Central and Eastern European (including Russian) background. Job search theory is used to derive theoretical predictions. We examine the omnibus ex ante effect of the German ALMP system, using the novel IZA Evaluation Data Set, which includes self-reported assessments of the variables of interest as well as an unusually detailed amount of information on behavior, attitudes and past outcomes. We find that the ex ante threat effect on the reservation wage and search effort varies considerably among the groups considered.

Keywords:active labor market policy; expectations; immigrants; policy evaluation; program evaluation; reservation wage; search effort; unemployment duration


On the meaning and measurement of redistribution in cross-country comparisons

March 14, 2011

 By:Peter J. Lambert, Runa Nesbakken and Thor O. Thoresen (Statistics Norway)


Empirical findings on the relationship between income inequality and redistribution from a cross-country perspective are not conclusive. One reason may be that observers have in mind different concepts of redistribution. A major factor is that comparator countries’ pre-fisc distributions typically differ markedly, and account is taken of this differently (if at all) by different measures of redistribution. The ambiguities can be resolved by applying the “transplant-and-compare” approach, rendering fiscal regimes into a common base by adjusting for differences in pre-fisc income inequality, and then measuring the “pure” effect of tax-and-transfer policies using this benchmark. We illustrate both what is possible, and what remains problematic, using this technique, by conducting an exploratory international comparison, based on microdata from the Luxembourg Income Study database in combination with more aggregated information from the OECD, for 15 countries. Keywords:Redistributive effect; Personal income tax; Cross-country comparison