However, the widespread assumption that Americans are tolerant of inequality and anti-redistribution is inconsistent with recent data showing majority support for redistribution of labour market earnings, and a strong majority support for educational spending (74%) and combined social and labour market redistribution (66%), she added.
Rising or high levels of inequality are more noticeable when they are perceived as restricting economic opportunity (shared prosperity, access to good jobs/benefits/pay; educational access). These concerns about restricted opportunities in turn prompt demands for opportunity-enhancing policies even from those otherwise in favour of free markets. For instance, she said, public opinion perceptions on taxes change when their proceeds are clearly identified, specifically allocated ex-ante and ring fenced.
Professor McCall proposes an integrated framework for understanding public views of inequality, opportunity, and redistribution, and has generated new data to test it.
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