Essays on Inequality Acceptance and Meritocracy
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Religious beliefs shape how people view the world and may be of great importance for understanding people’s attitudes to inequality. In this study, we investigate whether religious people differ from non-religious people in their inequality acceptance. We utilize the Fairness Across the World data set, which provides individual-level data from 60 countries on both inequality acceptance and religiosity. It allows us to compare how religious and nonreligious people across the world make consequential redistributive decisions in identical economic environments, where the source of inequality and cost of redistribution is manipulated. We find that the inequality acceptance of religious individuals is less sensitive to the source of inequality than that of non-religious individuals. These findings hold across definitions of religious affiliation and empirical specifications. Taken together, our findings suggest that religiosity is an important predictor of people’s fairness views.