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Redistribution, taxes, and the median voter

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  • Marco Bassetto
  • Jess Benhabib

Abstract

We study a simple model of production, accumulation, and redistribution, where agents are heterogeneous in their initial wealth, and a sequence of redistributive tax rates is voted upon. Though the policy is infinite-dimensional, we prove that a median voter theorem holds if households have identical, Gorman aggregable preferences; furthermore, the tax policy preferred by the median voter has the “bang- bang” property.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-06-02.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-06-02

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Keywords: Taxation ; Wealth;

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  1. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1997. "Optimal Taxes without Commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 231-259, December.
  2. Roger Lagunoff & William Jack, 2004. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 24, Econometric Society.
  3. Bassetto, Marco, 2005. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 79-105, September.
  4. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
  5. Pollak, Robert A, 1971. "Additive Utility Functions and Linear Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(116), pages 401-14, October.
  6. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1998. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Staff Report 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  8. Andrew Atkeson & V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Taxing capital income: a bad idea," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-17.
  9. Chamley, Christophe, 1985. "Efficient Taxation in a Stylized Model of Intertemporal General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 451-68, June.
  10. Jess Benhabib & Adam Przeworski, 2006. "The political economy of redistribution under democracy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 271-290, October.
  11. Rothstein, Paul, 1991. " Representative Voter Theorems," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 72(2-3), pages 193-212, December.
  12. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Facundo Piguillem & Anderson Schneider, 2013. "Heterogeneous Labor Skills, The Median Voter and Labor Taxes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 332-349, April.
  2. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2010. "Government Purchases Over the Business Cycle: the Role of Economic and Political Inequality," NBER Working Papers 16247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jean Guillaume Forand & John Duggan, 2013. "Markovian Elections," Working Papers 1305, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2013.
  4. Alessandro Riboni & Facundo Piguillem, 2011. "Dynamic Bargaining over Redistribution in Legislatures," 2011 Meeting Papers 1320, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2012. "Online Appendix to "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases"," Technical Appendices 11-243, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  6. Marina Azzimonti & Eva de Francisco & Per Krusell, 2006. "The political economy of labor subsidies," 2006 Meeting Papers 588, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Monisankar Bishnu & Min Wang, 2012. "Voting under temptation," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 12-03, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  8. Kirill Borissov & Alexander Surkov, 2010. "Endogenous growth in a model with heterogeneous agents and voting on public goods," EUSP Deparment of Economics Working Paper Series Ec-01/10, European University at St. Petersburg, Department of Economics, revised 29 Sep 2010.
  9. Gourio, François, 2009. "Is there a majority to support a capital tax cut?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1278-1295, June.
  10. César Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.

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