The Political Economy of Redistribution in the U.S. in the Aftermath of World War II and the Delayed Impacts of the Great Depression - Evidence and Theory
AbstractThe paper presents evidence of an upward ratchet in transfers and taxes in the U.S. around World-War II. This finding is explained within a political-economy framework involving an executive who sets defense spending and the median voter in the population who interacts with a (richer) agenda setter in Congress in setting redistribution. While the setter managed to cap redistribution in the pre-war period, the War itself pushed up the status-quo tax burden, raising the bargaining power of the median voter as defense spending receded. This raised the equilibrium level of redistribution. The higher share of post-War transfers may thus be interpreted as a delayed fulfilment of a, not fully satisfied, popular demand for redistribution inherited from the Great Depression.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7501.
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
- E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
- N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-11-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2009-11-27 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-MAC-2009-11-27 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-POL-2009-11-27 (Positive Political Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2009-11-27 (Public Finance)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Beetsma, Roel & Cukierman, Alex & Giuliodori, Massimo, 2005.
"Wars, Redistribution and Civilian Federal Expenditures in the US over the Twentieth Century,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Roel Beetsma & Alex Cukierman & Massimo Giuliodori, 2005. "Wars, Redistribution and Civilian Federal Expenditures in the US over the Twentieth Century," DNB Working Papers 057, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
- Zvi Hercowitz & Michel Strawczynski, 2004. "Cyclical Ratcheting in Government Spending: Evidence from the OECD," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 353-361, February.
- John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
- Barro, Robert J., 1979.
"On the Determination of the Public Debt,"
3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000.
"Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1998. "Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality and Growth in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 1797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
- Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
- Beetsma, Roel M.W.J. & Cukierman, Alex & Giuliodori, Massimo, 2007. "On the relationship between defense and non-defense spending in the U.S. during the world wars," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 415-421, June.
- Allan Meltzer & Scott Richard, 1983. "Tests of a rational theory of the size of government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 403-418, January.
- Perotti, Roberto, 1996. " Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.