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What's fair? Preferences for tax progressivity in the wake of the financial crisis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-193
JournalJournal Of Public Policy
Issue number2
Early online date31 Jan 2019
Accepted/In press3 Dec 2018
E-pub ahead of print31 Jan 2019
PublishedJun 2020


King's Authors


Progressive taxation is an effective redistributive tool in times of growing inequality. However, like all public policies, an increase in tax progressivity is unlikely if it lacks popular demand. Has the financial crisis affected the demand for progressive taxation? Building on research that has identified fairness beliefs as the main factor pushing for taxes on the rich, I argue that the Great Recession and states' reactions to it have caused a general shift in tax policy preferences. As a consequence, demand for tax progressivity is higher in crisis countries. Multilevel analyses using survey data for 32 countries show support for my argument. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the politics of redistribution in the 21st century.

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