Mobilizing Against Inequality: The Role of Protests in Shaping Preferences for Redistribution

About this Session


Thu. 11.04. 10:00



Author- Pedro Martín.

Abstract :

What is the effect of protests in shaping preferences for redistribution? Although the role of political narratives in the inequality-redistribution link has been emphasized extensively, there is scarce empirical evidence connecting political mobilization with preferences for redistribution. Experimental evidence, however, reveals that factors such as perceptions or moral evaluations around inequality affect people’s redistributive demands. The present paper connects this experimental evidence to actual political settings, arguing that massive mobilizations can affect people’s preferences for redistribution by shaping their fairness evaluations or perceptions of inequality. To test these expectations, I rely on a most-likely case approach with an ‘unexpected event during survey design’ methodology, studying the effect of several protests: anti-austerity waves in 2011 in Portugal and Spain and the French Gilets Jaunes in 2018 and their spillover effects in Belgium. The results suggest that these protests led to increased redistributive demands, likely due to magnified grievances and changing beliefs towards economic fairness and egalitarianism, providing new insights into inequality and mobilization research.