A glance at the occupational statistics of any country of mixed religious composition brings to light with remarkable frequency a situation which has several times provoked discussion in the Catholic press and literature, and in Catholic congresses in Germany, namely, the fact that business leaders and owners of capital, as well as the higher grades of skilled labor, and even more the higher technically and commercially trained personnel of modern enterprises, are overwhelmingly Protestant. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Peter Baehr, trans., New York: Penguin Books, 2001) (1904/05).
One of the ugly secrets of global poverty is that a good deal of suffering is caused not only by low incomes but also by bad spending decisions. Research suggests that the world’s poorest families (typically the men in those families) spend about 20 percent of their incomes on a combination of alcohol, cigarettes, prostitution, soft drinks and extravagant festivals.In one village here in Nicaragua where children were having to drop out of elementary school because they couldn’t afford notebooks, a midwife, Andrea Machado Garcia, estimated to me that if a man earned $150 working in the mountains as a day laborer during the coffee harvest, he might spend $50 on alcohol and women and bring back $100 to support his family. Id.
The same level of inequality may be more or less acceptable by different individuals in different countries depending upon their beliefs that wealth has been accumulated with effort and ability rather than by luck, connections or even corruption. In one word whether different levels of income and wealth are "deserved" or not. These views about inequality and justice (which we may label "ideology") determine tax rates and the evolution of the distribution of income and wealth. Id., at 1.
According to our simple framework, ideology does not entail cognitive distortions of reality, but it shapes the moral judgement on what wealth distribution would be fair, as well as it internalizes into people's preferences how strongly the distance between the current wealth distribution and the fair one makes people unhappy. Our model is consistent with a variety of observations about the relationship between inequality, redistribution, and persistence of poverty which could not be explained with more standard models of redistributive policies. Id., at 26.