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Redistribution and Inequality in a Heterogeneous Society

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  • ROLAND HODLER

Abstract

This paper analyses how income redistribution affects inequality in a society in which individuals differ in their earning abilities and their preferences for consumption and leisure. After discussing the shortcomings of various standard approaches, I measure inequality in such a heterogeneous society by the inequality in individuals' so-called equivalent wages. This approach suggests that redistribution tends to reduce inequality by transferring income from high-ability to low-ability individuals, but to increase inequality by transferring income from consumption-loving to leisure-loving individuals. These countervailing effects lead in all my simulations to a U-shaped relationship between redistribution and inequality. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2008.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 76 (2009)
Issue (Month): 304 (October)
Pages: 704-718

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:76:y:2009:i:304:p:704-718

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Cited by:
  1. JACQUET, Laurence & VAN DE GAER, Dirk, . "A comparison of optimal tax policies when compensation or responsibility matter," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2421, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Haan, Peter & Decoster, Andre, 2013. "Empirical welfare analysis with preference heterogeneity," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79815, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Bargain, Olivier & Decoster, André & Dolls, Mathias & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2011. "Welfare, Labor Supply and Heterogeneous Preferences: Evidence for Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 6102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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