AbstractWe present a theory of the choice of alternative democratic constitutions, a majoritarian or a consensual one, in a n unequal society. A majoritarian democracy redistributes resources from the collectivity toward relatively few people, and has a relatively small government and low level of taxation. A consensual democracy redistributes resources toward a broader spectrum of social groups but also have a larger government and a higher level of taxation. A consensual system turns out to be preferred by the society when ex ante income inequality is relatively low, while a majoritarian system is chosen when income inequality is relatively high. Moreover, we obtain that consensual democracies should be expected to be ruled more often by center-left coalitions. Finally, our model also provides a new rationale, based on the endogeneity of the political system, of the positive or absent (rather than negative) association between equality and redistribution transpiring from the cross-sectional evidence of developed countries presented in some recent studies. Some historical and empirical evidence supporting our results is provided.
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 Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies in its series Seminar Papers with number 726.
Length: 96 pages
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economic Journal, 2010, pages 1-39.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Web page: http://www.iies.su.se/
More information through EDIRC
Endogenous Constitutions; Consensual Democracy; Majoritarian Democracy; Inequality; Heterogeneity; Redistribution;
Other versions of this item:
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-02-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-HPE-2004-02-15 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2004-02-15 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-POL-2004-02-15 (Positive Political Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Hanna Christiansson).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.