Inequality, Self-Interest and Public Support for ``Robin Hood'' Tax Policies


Influential economic models predict that as inequality increases, the public will demand greater redistribution. However, there is limited research into the determinants of support for redistributive tax increases because such proposals have been so rare in America in recent decades. We use Washington State’s Proposition 1098 to examine how economic self-interest, concerns about inequality, and partisanship influence support for redistributive taxation. The results show that all of these factors influenced support, with strong support among the lower income, indicating that when the distributional implications of policies are clear, citizens can translate their self-interest and broad attitudes into congruent redistributive preferences.

Political Research Quarterly