Event Details


Education and Attitudes toward Redistribution in the United States


John Bullock (Yale University)


American Politics Workshop


Lindsay Rogers Room (707 IAB)


4:10 pm - 5:30 pm


Abstract: Scholars have staked out many positions on the relationship between secondary education and attitudes toward redistribution. Noting the apparently liberal effects of education in other domains, some scholars infer that education makes Americans more favorable toward redistribution. Other scholars, citing the link between education and income and the role of capitalist values in American education, suggest that education has the opposite effect on Americans. The common thread is that evidence in either direction has been scarce. This paper presents longitudinal data from multiple studies which suggest that the latter view is closer to the truth: on average, secondary education makes Americans more accepting of inequality and less favorable toward redistribution. The effect seems to owe at least as much to processes that act on children while they are in school as to downstream effects of education on income or employability.