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Popular support for egalitarian social welfare

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  • Rafael Salas

    ()
    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

  • Juan Gabriel Rodríguez

    ()
    (Instituto de Estudios Fiscales and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos)

Abstract

This paper provides a set of sufficient conditions under which the preferences of an egalitarian social decision-maker accord with majority voting. We show that an additive and concave utilitarian social evaluation function is consistent with the outcomes of majority voting if we restrict the class of income distributions to those that are symmetric under strictly increasing and concave transformations. A particular example is the lognormal distribution. We confirm that the required symmetry condition is generally accepted using an illustration for a panel of 116 countries. Moreover, the proposed methodology provides the inequality aversion parameter that is useful in practice and shows that median income is a good proxy for social welfare.

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File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2010-171.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 171.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2010-171

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Web page: http://www.ecineq.org
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Related research

Keywords: majority voting; social welfare; symmetric distribution; inequality aversion parameter.;

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References

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  1. De Donder, Philippe & Hindriks, Jean, 2003. "The politics of progressive income taxation with incentive effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2491-2505, October.
  2. John E. Roemer, 1997. "The Democratic Political Economy of Progressive Income Taxation," Discussion Papers 97-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Real National Income," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 19-39, February.
  5. Francisco Marhuenda & Ignacio Ortuño Ortín, 1995. "Popular Support For Progressive Taxation," Working Papers. Serie AD 1995-15, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  6. Marhuenda, Francisco & Ortuno-Ortin, Ignacio, 1995. "Popular support for progressive taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 319-324, June.
  7. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  8. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Carbonell-Nicolau, Oriol & Klor, Esteban F., 2003. "Representative democracy and marginal rate progressive income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1137-1164, May.
  11. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  12. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  13. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. " Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  14. Gouveia, Miguel & Oliver, David, 1996. "Voting over flat taxes in an endowment economy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 251-258, February.
  15. 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.
  16. Lambert, Peter J. & Millimet, Daniel L. & Slottje, Daniel, 2003. "Inequality aversion and the natural rate of subjective inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1061-1090, May.
  17. Amiel, Yoram & Creedy, John & Hurn, Stan, 1999. " Measuring Attitudes towards Inequality," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(1), pages 83-96, March.
  18. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328.
  19. Gouveia, Miguel & Strauss, Robert P., 1994. "Effective Federal Individual Tax Functions: An Exploratory Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(2), pages 317-39, June.
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