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Three Essays on Democracy, Inequality, and Redistribution in Developed Countries

Choi, Gwang Eun (2018) Three Essays on Democracy, Inequality, and Redistribution in Developed Countries. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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The purpose of this thesis is to lay the empirical foundations for exploring the dynamics of democracy, inequality, and redistribution in advanced countries. The thesis consists of three main essays: The first essay provides a new measure of democracy that captures the dynamics of democracy in developed countries, and the second and third essays focus on the dynamic relation between inequality and redistribution. The first paper shows that developed democracies are not uniformly democratic across different dimensions by constructing the Democratic Performance Index (DPI). The DPI, which has eight distinct dimensions of democratic performance, is the result of a conceptual and empirical critique of the existing measures of democracy under a middle-range conception of democracy. The second and third papers are closely intertwined to address a long-standing puzzle of whether more economic inequality leads to more redistribution. The second paper investigates the relationship between economic inequality and redistribution at the country level. The paper introduces redistributive preferences as an intervening factor in the relationship and presents the Gini coefficient of perceived social position (perceived Gini) as a country-level measure of perceived inequality. The evidence shows that perceived inequality, not actual inequality, is significantly associated with redistributive preferences, while preferences for redistribution do not translate into redistribution. The third paper examines the role of both individuals’ objective or subjective social status and their perceptions of inequality in shaping preferences for redistribution. The paper provides new measures of perceived actual inequality, personal norms of inequality, and perceived injustice. The findings demonstrate that subjective social position has a stronger impact on redistributive preferences than objective social position and that individuals’ inequality norms play a more crucial role in preference formation than does their perception of actual inequality. The concluding section summarises and discusses the findings, highlights policy implications, and suggests future areas of inquiry.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: democracy, democratic performance, economic inequality, perceived inequality, redistributive preferences, redistribution
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Gwang Choi
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2018 08:30
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2018 08:30

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