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Income Inequality and the Size of the Public Sector

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  • Michele Giuseppe Giuranno

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the question of how income inequality between two jurisdictions impacts upon government decision-making affecting the size of the public sector. We model policy choices as the outcome of regional representatives' negotiations in the legislature. We show that the more unequal income distribution is, the greater the degree of inefficiency in terms of under-provision of public goods. Particularly, a divergent income trend between rich and poor makes interregional redistributive conflicts more dramatic. Consequently, the larger the income disparity, the smaller the public sector. A wealthier economy as a result may lead to a relatively smaller public sector when income disparity increases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 603.

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Date of creation: 07 Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:603

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  1. Lockwood, Ben, 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Costs of Centralization," CEPR Discussion Papers 2046, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bjorvatn, K. & Cappelen, A. W., 2003. "Inequality, segregation, and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1657-1679, August.
  3. Horstmann, Ignatius J & Scharf, Kimberley Ann, 1999. "The New Federalism: Distributional Conflict, Voluntarism and Segregation," CEPR Discussion Papers 2273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Kjetil Bjorvatn & Alexander W. Cappelen, 2003. "Redistributive Tax Policies and Inequality: An Assessment of Recent Country Comparative Studies," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(1), pages 28-31, 02.
  5. Kristov, L. & Lindert, P. & Mcclelland, R., 1990. "Pressure Groups And Redistribution," Papers 66, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  6. Jaramillo, F. & Kempf, H. & Moizeau, F., 2000. "Inequality and Club Formation," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 2000.36, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  7. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475, April.
  8. Tridimas, George & Winer, Stanley L., 2005. "The political economy of government size," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 643-666, September.
  9. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  10. Vander Lucas, 2002. "Fiscal federalism and bargaining over transfers," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 28(13), pages A0.
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  12. Persson, Mats, 1995. " Why Are Taxes So High in Egalitarian Societies?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 569-80, December.
  13. Bassett, William F. & Burkett, John P. & Putterman, Louis, 1999. "Income distribution, government transfers, and the problem of unequal influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 207-228, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Michele Giuseppe Giuranno, 2009. "Regional Income Disparity and the Size of the Public Sector," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(5), pages 697-719, October.
  2. Michele Giuranno, 2009. "Pooling Sovereignty and Subsidiarity Principle," Discussion Papers 09/01, Department of Economics, University of York.

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