Winners and Losers in Transition: Preferences for Redistribution and Nostalgia for Communism in Eastern Europe

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Summary

I study the preferences for redistribution in Eastern Europe. After the collapse of communism c. 1990, preferences for redistribution did not decrease by 2000, and if anything, they increased. One explanation is the so-called “public values effect”: individual beliefs shape preferences for redistribution. East Europeans continue to believe that it is the responsibility of the state to provide for the poor, and hence, they prefer redistribution. Income and expected income also affect preferences for redistribution but to a lesser degree than relative income and income history. The ‘winners’ of the transition, i.e., those who are better off after the collapse of communism, prefer less redistribution.

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