It’s just not fair! Why we don’t know what taxes we want

What’s the difference between being left-wing and right-wing? Perhaps not very much – it depends on how the question is asked.

Stian Reimers at UCL asked people how a tax burden should be split between a high earner (Andy on 50k)  and a low earner (Bob on 20k). Bizarrely, answers depended on how the question was phrased. When asked about how much money Andy and Bob should each pay in tax, people preferred a less progressive regime, compared to when they were asked how much money Bob and Andy should be left with after tax.

It seems to come down to what people perceive as a fair contribution to society versus what they perceive is a fair amount to live on. And which of these aspects they focus on depends on how the question is framed.

So there you go. That’s how you turn your right wing friend into a raging leftie. (Or vice-versa)

The full paper is here: A paycheck half-empty or half-full?

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2 Responses to It’s just not fair! Why we don’t know what taxes we want

  1. Pingback: Twitted by kamromero

  2. Pingback: Budget 2012: It’s the way you communicate it | Five Minute Economist's Blog

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