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June 21, 2013

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Al

Although the paradox might partly be explained by how oldies have higher (taxable) incomes and assets, and are therefore more likely to lose out from redistributive policies. That redistribution requires taxation is probably easier to work out that the effects of some macroeconomic policies.

Churm Rincewind

"...youngsters, traditionally, are more left-wing than oldies..."

Is this right? More idealistic, more radical, and less resistant to change, certainly. But my impression is that these are characteristics of young Conservative voters, too. And the ever-astute Alex Salmond's determination to include younger voters in the Scottish referendum would seem to suggest that he believes they're more responsive to alterations in the status quo than older voters, not that he believes they're more left-wing. Labour voters would not suit his agenda at all.

Metatone

Snowdon is (I guess purposely since it suits the IEA agenda) economical with the available theory and facts.

1) Migration numbers are not presented. Reason being is that when they are, the absolute numbers suggest that migration is at the margins, once you exclude university ins and outs.

2) Unemployment in areas like Sunderland has been high for a while. If you're young you may in theory be happier in a low paid job in Sunderland than in a higher paid job in the South East. However, if you crunch the actual figures your chances of finding a job are higher in the South East. (As an aside, this is why migrants from outside the UK head for the SE, too.) Guess what, young people are on the margins of the job market and often feel the need to take any action they can to maximise their chances. (They also tend not to have fixed assets, so "flexibility" is one of their "assets".)

2a) Everyone, Snowdon included, tells young people that if they want a job, they should go looking for one. What kind of dishonesty is it to then use the move as evidence that people are choosing to live in London because they find the quality of life higher?

3) Snowdon rebuts, disingenously "it's easier for the semi-skilled to find work in second tier cities" - but isn't that because half the job seekers are prepared to move out? If they stayed, it wouldn't be - and they know it.

Metatone

Ignore my number 3, he says the opposite, so in fact, he has no rebuttal at all. He's just another ahistorical economist, pretending that the world came into existence at the moment of the decision of each individual.

Christopher Snowdon

Regarding your second footnote, relative income is not just "strictly speaking" different to general inequality. They are fundamentally different and should not be conflated. It is reasonably certain that relative income has some effect on well-being for some people, albeit a much lesser effect than absolute income, but these concerns are very different to the putative concerns about wider income inequality, as I try to explain in Chapter 4 of this:
www.iea.org.uk%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fpublications%2Ffiles%2FIEA%2520Pursuit%2520of%2520Happiness%2520web.pdf&ei=7OXEUfvyLMW70QWruYHoCg&usg=AFQjCNEG-6QiCgdMXrD--cqDo8ajgzJjnQ&sig2=XSnn-CO55p4RLU3hYIK5qw&bvm=bv.48293060,d.d2k

Christiaan Hofman

Not very much of a paradox. It's very simple. Young people are forward looking, middle age people are looking at their current situation (and how they got there.) For young people, seeing people with very high income is what they might achieve in the future, so it means that they can get very high incomes. But seeing large inequality makes them less happy, because it means there's a very big risk for themselves in the future, they might very well end up on the wrong side of the distribution, and they see it matters a lot. For middle age people, it's different. When they see very high income people they see what they themselves did not achieve. And seeing inequality gives them a reason to believe it wasn't them, or that they did not do so bad after all, because there's a lot of people below their income scale. It's not rocket science.

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