Legitimate earnings inequality and national welfare commitment: Correspondence between economic institutions and the pay 80,000+ people in 30 nations think legitimate for ordinary jobs and for elite jobs
In formulating views of just reward for high-status and low-status work, do ordinary citizens take cues from their nation's public stance on income inequality as institutionally embedded in their welfare state, i.e. their social welfare and labor market policies, their "welfarism"? How large a morally correct earnings gap flows from that? Our multilevel analyses (fixed effects, random intercepts) replicate prior research on the impact of individual characteristics and socioeconomic development. They open new territory with the discovery that public opinion on legitimate/just earnings of high-status occupations aligns moderately strongly with welfarism, ceteris paribus, with welfare state citizens advocating lower pay for the elite but not higher pay for working-class occupations: The welfare state is not (or no longer) a matter of helping the poor but instead of bringing down the elite, "cutting down the tall poppies". Data: World Inequality Study v2.1: 30 countries, 71 surveys, and over 88,000 individuals.
Keywords: Earnings justice; Fair pay; Income inequality; Just occupational earnings; Legitimate earnings; Welfare state.