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Trade and the Political Economy of Redistribution

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  • Gonzague Vannoorenberghe
  • Eckhard Janeba

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of trade liberalisation on the political support for policies that redistribute income between workers in different sectors. We allow for worker heterogeneity and imperfect mobility of workers across sectors, giving rise to a trade-off between redistribution and the inefficiency of the labor allocation. We compare two environments, autarky and small open economy, and present three main findings. First, redistributive policies are more “likely” to arise in a small open than in a closed economy. Second, if a redistributive policy is adopted in both situations, its nominal level is higher in autarky than in the small open economy. Third, even though voters choose redistributive policies with lower nominal value in open economies, the actual extent of redistribution in equilibrium is larger in the open than in the closed economy. We discuss our results in the context of the debate about the effects of globalisation on government activity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4062.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4062

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Related research

Keywords: international trade; redistribution; political economy; factor mobility;

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References

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  1. Saralees Nadarajah & Samuel Kotz, 2006. "On the Ratio of Fréchet Random Variables," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 40(5), pages 861-868, October.
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  12. Wright, Randall, 1986. "The redistributive roles of unemployment insurance and the dynamics of voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 377-399, December.
  13. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
  14. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Direct or Indirect Tax Instruments for Redistribution: Short-run versus Long-run," NBER Working Papers 8833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Robert Ford & Wim Suyker, 1990. "Industrial Subsidies in the OECD Economies," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 74, OECD Publishing.
  16. Gueorgui Kambourov, 2009. "Labour Market Regulations and the Sectoral Reallocation of Workers: The Case of Trade Reforms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1321-1358.
  17. Haim Levy, 1992. "Stochastic Dominance and Expected Utility: Survey and Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(4), pages 555-593, April.
  18. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  19. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
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