Why do individuals support redistribution? Many studies have investigated the factors that influence support for redistribution; however, none have confirmed the role of income satisfaction. The aim of this study is to explore the role of income satisfaction in its support of the mechanism for redistribution. In this study, I suggest relative deprivation theory and the concept of satisfying rationality , as both give income satisfaction a theoretical position. Based on this framework, I argue that income satisfaction could be an indicator of relative deprivation and is understood as the basis of rational action. Specifically, I suggest the mechanism of relative deprivation that a feeling of unfairness weakens income satisfaction, and deterioration in income satisfaction leads individuals to support redistribution. To support this argument, I conduct multilevel path analysis using World Value Survey 6 waves focusing on the OECD countries. I first examine the direct effect of income satisfaction on support for redistribution and find a statistical association between income satisfaction and support for redistribution. Then, I check the relationship between income satisfaction and feeling of unfairness to validate income satisfaction as an indicator of relative deprivation. These findings imply that scholars need to pay more attention to the substantial role of individuals’ subjective reaction to the objective economic conditions.
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