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Redistribution and Non-consumption Smoothing in an Open Economy

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  • Perotti, Roberto

Abstract

This paper presents a model where income distribution and redistributive fiscal policy interact to affect the budget deficit and the pattern of net borrowing of a country. According to the standard representative agent paradigm, a small open economy should smooth consumption by borrowing from (lending to) the rest of the world when its income increases (declines) over time. The simple model of this paper delivers exactly the same predictions in the absence of income dispersion. When income distribution is not degenerate, however, the same model gives rise to a surprising wealth of results. In particular, poor economies with high inequality may exhibit completely counter-intuitive patterns of fiscal policy and external borrowing. The country's production path declines over time, because the more mobile agents leave the country to escape taxation; yet, the country might end up having a budget deficit and borrowing from abroad, thereby reinforcing rather than smoothing the asymmetry in consumption between the two periods. An important feature of this outcome is that it is backed by both the poor and the rich, who gain from the fiscal system at the expense of the middle class. Copyright 1996 by The Review of Economic Studies Limited.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 63 (1996)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 411-33

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Handle: RePEc:bla:restud:v:63:y:1996:i:3:p:411-33

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0034-6527

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Cited by:
  1. Kaniska Dam, 2003. "The Principal-Agent Matching Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 945, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Ahmet Faruk Aysan, 2006. "The Role of Distribution of the Income Shares of Individuals in Tradables and Nontradables on Exchange Rate Fluctuations and Delay of Stabilizations," Working Papers 2006/11, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
  3. Gabriela Inchauste & Bernardin Akitoby & Benedict J. Clements & Sanjeev Gupta, 2004. "The Cyclical and Long-Term Behavior of Government Expenditures in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 04/202, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Perotti, Roberto, 1998. " The Political Economy of Fiscal Consolidations," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(1), pages 367-94, March.
  5. Arze del Granado, Javier & Gupta, Sanjeev & Hajdenberg, Alejandro, 2013. "Is Social Spending Procyclical? Evidence for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 16-27.

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