Stefanie Stantcheva: Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution


Monday, February 13, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Harvard Kennedy School: Allison Dining Room

Stefanie StantchevaAssistant Professor of Economics, Harvard University.

Using newly collected cross-country survey and experimental data, we investigate how beliefs about intergenerational mobility affect preferences for redistribution in five countries: France, Italy, Sweden, U.K., and U.S.

Americans are more optimistic than Europeans about intergenerational mobility, and too optimistic relative to actual mobility. Our randomized treatment that shows respondents pessimistic information about mobility increases support for redistribution, mostly for equality of opportunity policies.

A strong political polarization exists: Left-wing respondents are more pessimistic about intergenerational mobility, their preferences for redistribution are correlated with their mobility perceptions, and they respond to pessimistic information by increasing support for redistribution. None of these apply to right-wing respondents, possibly because of their extremely negative views of government.

View paper

About the speaker

Stefanie Stantcheva is an assistant professor in Economics at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the optimal design of the tax system, taking into account important labor market features, social preferences, and long-term effects such as human capital acquisition and innovation by people and firms. She is also interested in the empirical effects of taxation on inequality, top incomes, migration, human capital, and innovation. 

She received her Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 2014 and was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows 2014-2016.

Learn more about Stantcheva's work


Registration Closed
See also: Spring 2017