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Does Egalitarianism Have a Future?

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  • Louis Putterman
  • John E. Roemer
  • Joaquim Silvestre

Abstract

The fall of Communism, the reassessment of Nordic social democracy, belt-tightening in other advanced welfare states, and the worldwide privatization wave have led many to conclude that egalitarianism is a merely utopian ideal, the possibility of whose realization is laid to rest by the failure of a series of twentieth-century social experiments. We survey the evidence, both empirical and theoretical, and conclude that obituaries are premature. Key theoretical errors in the design of egalitarian experiments, and in some critiques of pro-egalitarian policies, concern the role of information asymmetries, and we argue that their proper understanding re-opens possibilities for increasing equality without unacceptable sacrifices in efficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 36 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 861-902

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:36:y:1998:i:2:p:861-902

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Cited by:
  1. Valentino Dardanoni & Mario Fiorini & Antonio Forcina, 2008. "Stochastic Monotonicity in Intergenerational Mobility Tables," Working Paper Series 156, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
  2. Jakee, Keith & Sun, Guang-Zhen, 2005. "External habit formation and dependency in the welfare state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 83-98, March.
  3. Frank Ackerman, . "00-01 "Still Dead After All These Years: Interpreting the Failure of General Equilibrium Theory."," GDAE Working Papers 00-01, GDAE, Tufts University.
  4. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2009. "Why Doesn't Capitalism Flow to Poor Countries?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 285-332.
  5. Josten, Stefan Dietrich & Truger, Achim, 2003. "The political economy of growth and distribution: A theoretical critique," WSI Discussion Papers 111, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Stiftung.
  6. Lee J. Alston & Joseph P. Ferrie, 2005. "Time on the Ladder: Career Mobility in Agriculture, 1890-1938," NBER Working Papers 11231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sahrbacher, Amanda, 2012. "Impacts of CAP reforms on farm structures and performance disparities: An agent-based approach," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Central and Eastern Europe, Leib­niz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO), volume 65, number 65.
  8. Leif Danziger & Heinrich Ursprung, 2000. "Risk-Aversion and Social Mobility: The Impossibility of Order-Preserving Income Redistributions," CESifo Working Paper Series 321, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Bassett, William F. & Burkett, John P. & Putterman, Louis, 1999. "Income distribution, government transfers, and the problem of unequal influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 207-228, June.
  10. Robin Winkler, 2013. "Did Nazis save more? Household saving and ideology in pre-war National Socialist Germany," Economics Series Working Papers 119, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  11. María A. García-Valiñas & Roberto Fernández Llera & Benno Torgler, 2008. "More Income Equality or Not? An Empirical Analysis of Individuals' Preferences for Redistribution," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 226, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  12. Enrico Colombatto, 2011. "Is there a health-care problem in Western societies?," ICER Working Papers 14-2011, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  13. Ruthanne Deutsch, 1998. "How Early Childhood Interventions Can Reduce Inequality: An Overview of Recent Findings," IDB Publications 50998, Inter-American Development Bank.
  14. Furubotn, Eirik G., 2001. "The new institutional economics and the theory of the firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 133-153, June.
  15. Sergio Beraldo & Daniel Montolio Estivill & Gilberto Turati, 2005. "Healthy, Educated and Wealthy: Is the Welfare State Really Harmful for Growth?," Working Papers in Economics 127, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  16. Stefan Baumgaertner & Stefanie Glotzbach & Nikolai Hoberg & Martin F. Quaas & Klara Stumpf, 2011. "Trade-offs between justices, economics, and efficiency," Working Paper Series in Economics 218, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  17. Christophe Ehrhart, 2009. "The effects of inequality on growth: a survey of the theoretical and empirical literature," Working Papers 107, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  18. Savoia, Antonio & Easaw, Joshy & McKay, Andrew, 2010. "Inequality, Democracy, and Institutions: A Critical Review of Recent Research," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 142-154, February.
  19. Beraldo, Sergio & Montolio, Daniel & Turati, Gilberto, 2009. "Healthy, educated and wealthy: A primer on the impact of public and private welfare expenditures on economic growth," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 946-956, December.

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