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Self-stratification bias in Brazil: the role it plays on preferences for redistribution

Grant number: 19/03725-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science
Principal Investigator:Marta Teresa da Silva Arretche
Grantee:Rodrigo Sequerra Mahlmeister
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07616-7 - CEM - Center for Metropolitan Studies, AP.CEPID


The theoretical framework of Meltzer and Richard (1981) suggests that the relative position of an individual in the scale of national income distribution plays an important role on his or her preferences for redistribution. Due to the lack of a solid empirical basis that argues in favor of this formulation, the proposed research seeks to requalify its premises. In order to do so, it relies on a literature according to which in a large part of the population the perception on where their own income fits in national rank is biased and - unlike the actual position - is strongly correlated with individual preferences for redistribution. Those who overestimate this position, for instance, tend to opt for less State intervention. The proposed investigation aims to collect evidence on this self-stratification bias in Brazil through an econometric analysis of national surveys of 2008 and 2019. Are there data that state the existence of this bias in the perception of brazilians? If so, what influence does it play on their preferences for redistribution? Filling the gap regarding the study of this phenomenon in the country, this work will seek to contribute to the research agenda that documents what promotes or prevents redistributive policies to take shape.