How do misperceptions of inequality shape support for redistribution and voting behaviour? Evidence from a randomised survey experiment in Indonesia

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

PhD Seminar (Econ)

Date & time

Friday 26 July 2019


Acton Theatre, JG Crawford School, Lennox Crossing, ANU


Christopher Hoy


Ryan Edwards

This research tests how information about inequality affects Indonesian’s support for redistribution and also their voting behavior. A nationally-representative randomised survey experiment was carried out for this purpose. Respondents were randomly allocated to receive information about the level of inequality, information about the level of inequality plus the degree of upward mobility, information about their position in the national income distribution, or no information.

The first two treatments are found to decrease support for social protection by 25 percent and increase the likelihood that respondents would vote against the President by 20 percent. Providing information about a respondent’s position in the distribution results in richer Indonesians becoming less supportive of redistribution across a range of measures. The findings suggest that communicating information about inequality to the public would actually be detrimental to the national government’s efforts to build a stronger social contract with its citizens.

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