No More Material Interests

Ignacio Jurado
Session Organizer:
Lucy Barnes
Deborah Mabbett
Friday, 3 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.3.02 (Tower One)
The papers on this panel collectively challenge the idea that distributive interests, based on accurate individual calculations of their own economic position, can plausibly drive policy preferences (and thus redistributive outcomes). 

First, Marx investigates attitudes towards multiple dimensions of unemployment insurance (in Spain). He finds that here at least, material interest seems a less compelling determinant of attitudes than ideological commitments. 

Becker similarly finds a significant role for `other regarding' views in considering whether inequalities perceived as beyond individual control are seen as more unjust, and hence more unjustified. 

Filetti argues that psychological needs, rather than material interests, determine redistributive attitudes. Again emphasising perceptions of justice in assessments of empirical distributions of income, the argument is that phenomena of cognitive dissonance may better explain the resistance of those with high incomes to redistributive policies. 

Finally, Hicks/Jacobs present a different constraint on the utlity of materialist explanations (this time of vote choice). They question whether low- and middle-income voters (in particular) are equipped to defend their economic interests if the information disseminated in the `economic news' does not accurately track the evolution of gains and losses specific to their income groups.

Disentangling Preferences for Multi-Dimensional Policies: A Conjoint Experiment
Paul Marx, University of Southern Denmark; Jose Fernandez-Alberto, Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos; Aina Gallego, Institut de Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals
Whose News? How Economic News Responds to the Distribution of Gains and Losses
Timothy Hicks, N/A; Alan Jacobs, University of British Columbia; Scott Matthews, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Eric Merkley, University of British Columbia