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Pourquoi l'Europe redistribue-t-elle plus que les Etats-Unis? Au delà du médian égoiste

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Dans l’approche standard en économie dite de "l’électeur médian égoïste", le niveau de redistribution dans une société démocratique est censé croître avec l’inégalité de la distribution du revenu. Or les nombreuses études empiriques menées sur la question invalident cette relation. Dans cet article, nous soutenons que l’échec de "l’électeur médian égoïste" est en premier lieu dû à l’hypothèse d’une nature humaine exclusivement égoïste. En nous inspirant tant d’Adam Smith que des sciences cognitives modernes, nous supposons que l’homme est caractérisé non seulement par un instinct égoïste mais aussi par un instinct moral. Nous caractérisons alors la démocratie par la recherche du consensus (ici autour de la redistribution) et non plus par la volonté d’une majorité imposée à une minorité comme dans l’approche standard. Dans cette recherche de consensus, le niveau de redistribution est alors la résultante d’une interaction complexe entre inégalité et inéquité dans la distribution du revenu. Nous soutenons également que les différences observées dans la redistribution du revenu aux Etats-Unis et en Europe sont dues à la nature différente de leur régime démocratique.

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Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2007-03.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:0703

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  1. International Monetary Fund, 2003. "Income Inequality and Redistributive Government Spending," IMF Working Papers 03/14, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," Papers 08-15-2005a, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  3. Gilles Le Garrec, 2007. "Moral sentiments, democracy and redistributive politics: between nature and culture," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-09, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  4. Tania Singer & Ernst Fehr, 2005. "The Neuroeconomics of Mind Reading and Empathy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 340-345, May.
  5. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 122247000000000306, www.najecon.org.
  6. 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.
  7. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  8. Michel Forsé & Maxime Parodi, 2006. "Justice distributive. La hiérarchie des principes selon les Européens," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 98(3), pages 213-244.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't the US Have a European-Style Welfare System?," NBER Working Papers 8524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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