The Intercohort Dynamics of Support for Redistribution in 54 Countries, 1985-2017

Tom VanHeuvelen, Kathy Copas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When do attitudes towards inequality change? Scholars have examined why publics change their attitudes regarding support for redistribution (SFR). Yet almost all studies focus on SFR change from one year to another. We shift focus by conceptualizing SFR change as occurring across birth cohorts socialized into different cultural zeitgeists. We combine data from 21 waves of cross-national survey data using the International Social Survey Program and European Social Survey covering 54 countries, 32 years, and over a century of birth years. In many countries, we reach substantially different conclusions on the nature of SFR change when examining intercohort dynamics. In several cases, we detect rapidly declining SFR belied by year-to-year stability of attitudes, representing an important challenge for proponents of egalitarian politics. Additional findings and implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number69
Number of pages22
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Birth cohort
  • Cross national
  • Intercohort
  • Support for redistribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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