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Distributive Politics and Economic Growth

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  • Rodrik, Dani
  • Alesina, Alberto

Abstract

We study the relationship between politics and economic growth in a simple model of endogenous growth with distributive conflict among agents endowed with varying capital/labor shares. We establish several results regarding the factor ownership of the median individual and the level of taxation, redistribution, and growth. Policies that maximize growth are optimal only for a government that cares solely about pure "capitalists." The greater the inequality of wealth and income, the higher the rate of taxation, and the lower growth. We present empirical results that show that inequality in land and income ownership is negatively correlated with subsequent economic growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4551798.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Publication status: Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4551798

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  1. Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini., 1991. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Theory and Evidence," Economics Working Papers 91-155, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," NBER Working Papers 2759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Terrones, M., 1990. "Influence Activities And Economic Growth," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9006, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  4. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
  7. Berg, Andrew & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1988. "The debt crisis structural explanations of country performance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 271-306, November.
  8. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
  9. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  10. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
  11. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
  12. repec:fth:coluec:595 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Mohtadi, Hamid & Roe, Terry L., 1991. "Political Economy of Endogenous Growth (Revised)," Bulletins 7502, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
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