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The political Economy of Wealth and Interest

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  • HansPeter Grüner
  • Rüdiger Schils
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    Abstract

    We study the relationship between wealth redistribution and the allocation of firm-ownership. The economy's wealth distribution affects the equilibrium interest rate and the allocation of entrepreneurial rents when wealth determines agents' ability to borrow. This leads to an unconventional voting behaviour of the politically decisive middle class: the political preferences of middle and upper class voters coincide when redistribution only has an adverse interest-rate effect. Middle class voters vote with the lower class if redistribution gives access to entrepreneurial rents. Technology may strongly affect political outcomes. Greater inequality amplifies the interest-rate effect and may lead to less redistribution. Copyright 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2007.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 117 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 523 (October)
    Pages: 1403-1422

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    Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:523:p:1403-1422

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    References

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    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1999. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality in the Process of Development," Working Papers 99-27, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. Piketty, Thomas, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 173-89, April.
    4. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
    5. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    6. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
    7. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    8. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1991. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 211-35, April.
    9. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2005. "Land Inequality and the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions," Development and Comp Systems 0502018, EconWPA.
    10. Roemer, John E., 1998. "Why the poor do not expropriate the rich: an old argument in new garb," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 399-424, December.
    11. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Representative democracy and capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 53-70, September.
    12. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hans Grüner, 2009. "Inequality and Political Consensus," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 239-265, September.
    2. Hodler, Roland, 2008. "Leisure and redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 354-363, June.
    3. Brückner, Markus & Gerling, Kerstin & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2007. "Wealth Inequality and Credit Markets: Evidence from Three Industrialized Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 6485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2008. "Capital Markets, Information Aggregation and Inequality: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "One Dollar, One Vote," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 621-651, 06.
    6. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2007. "Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983-2004," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19697, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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