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Community and Class Antagonism

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  • Dasgupta, Indraneel
  • Kanbur, Ravi

Abstract

We investigate how vertical unity within a community interacts with horizontal class divisions of an unequal income distribution. Community is conceptualized in terms of a public good to which all those in the community have equal access, but from which outsiders are excluded. We formulate the idea of redistributive tension, or class antagonism, in terms of the costs that poorer individuals would be willing to impose on the rich, to achieve a given gain in personal income. Our conclusion is that the nominal distribution of income could give a misleading picture of tensions in society, both within and across communities. Ideologies of community solidarity may well trump those of class solidarity because of the implicit sharing of community resources brought about by community-specific public goods. Greater economic mobility of particular types may actually exacerbate class tensions instead of attenuating them. We illustrate our theoretical results with a discussion of a number of historical episodes of shifting class tensions and alliances.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6330.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6330

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Related research

Keywords: Class Conflict; Community; Distribution; Ethnic Conflict; Inequality; Public Goods;

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References

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  2. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Kanbur, Ravi, 2008. "Should Egalitarians Expropriate Philanthropists?," IZA Discussion Papers 3317, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  14. Indraneel Dasgupta & Ravi Kanbur, 2005. "Community and anti-poverty targeting," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 281-302, December.
  15. Robert Breunig & Indraneel Dasgupta, 2005. "Do Intra-Household Effects Generate the Food Stamp Cash-Out Puzzle?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(3), pages 552-568.
  16. Richard Cornes & Todd Sandler, 2000. "Pareto-Improving Redistribution and Pure Public Goods," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(2), pages 169-186, 05.
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  18. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Kanbur, Ravi, 2003. "Bridging Communal Divides: Separation, Patronage, Integration," Working Papers 127235, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  19. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
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