ICSID Leading research fellow Ekaterina Borisova took part in the 26th Silvaplana Workshop on Political Economy that was held in Pontresina, Switzerland, on July 23-27, 2017.
Ekaterina presented her paper «Who to help? Trust, social norms, and preferences for redistribution target groups» (co-authored by Andrei Govorun, Denis Ivanov and Irina Levina).
Abstract: Does social capital in a society influences individual preferences for redistribution to target groups? It was already recognized that social capital affects both size of welfare state and support for it by decreasing perceptions of prevalence of cheating among others. We argue that not only prevalence of cheating matters, it’s different across groups. Using unique set of surveys of about 34,000 individuals across 68 Russian regions that were conducted in 2007 and 2011 we find a robust positive influence of social capital on support for government redistribution in favour of merit and retired; lower support is found for the needy. We argue that the needy ones are the most suspected group here as it’s comparatively easier to pretend to be poor than merit, retired, disabled or having many children. Moreover weak formal institutions nurture cheating possibilities like getting shadow salaries and claiming benefits without being legally entitled. Thus we argue that differences in perceptions of opportunities to cheat on redistribution benefits drive the results. Overall our paper could yield policy-related lessons and recommendations.
In addition, Ekaterina discussed two workshop papers - «Compulsory voting, turnout, and asymmetrical habit-formation» and «Redistributive politics with target-specific beliefs».