Monday, July 6, 2009

Nothing wrong with Kansas

(via Andrew Sullivan)a new paper posits a counter-intuitive relationship between national identity and acceptance of economic redistribution. Conventional thinking presumes that stronger identification with our countrymen means more solidarity and acceptance of economic redistribution as a tool  to spread the wealth. This paper argues the opposite; that that strong national identity goes together with high income inequality and low desire (among working class voters) for redistribution. The reasoning is that when working class voters identify more strongly with their class, they are likely to push for redistribution (which will favor their class interests), but often they will identify less with their class (perhaps because that class is ethnically heterogenous), and more with their nation, and are then less likely to want redistribution. The graph shows a clear negative correlation between economic redistribution and degree of national identity.

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