Explaining Public Attitudes toward Fighting Inequality in Latin America
This paper uses the 2008 Americas Barometer survey data from 22 countries to explore the factors that shape Latin American attitudes about the role of the state in reducing inequality. Using multilevel analysis to properly model both the individual- and country-level predictors of these attitudes, we find that traditional explanations of public attitudes about government’s redistributive role also carry weight in Latin America. Economic evaluations, personal wealth, trust in government, and assessments of government performance are each associated in predictable ways with attitudes about redistribution. But the analysis also identifies factors that have been overlooked in previous research on the state’s role in combating inequality, which has been primarily conducted in the context of the developed world. Namely, we find that Latin Americans appropriately view crime and inequality as interrelated, and as their perceptions of crime as a problem increase so does their support for government efforts to reduce inequality. This relationship is particularly important in poorer countries where inequality and poverty are widespread social ills. The analysis suggests that in the Latin American context it is appropriate to view pursuing anticrime and anti-inequality policies as compatible rather than competing goals.
Jana Morgan and Nathan J. Kelly. "Explaining Public Attitudes toward Fighting Inequality in Latin America" Poverty & Public Policy 2.3 (2010): 79.
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