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Redistributive Politics and Market Efficiency: An Experimental Study

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  • Jens Großer
  • Ernesto Reuben

Abstract

We study the interaction between competitive markets that produce large but unequally distributed welfare gains and elections through which the poor majority can redistribute income away from the rich minority. In our simple laboratory democracy, subjects first earn their income by trading in a double auction market and thereafter vote on redistributive policies in two-candidate elections. In addition, in one of the treatments subjects can attempt to influence the candidates’ policy choices by transferring money to them. We observe very high levels of redistribution - even when transfers to candidates are possible - with little effect on market efficiency. Overall, the experimental results are explained by our equilibrium predictions.

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Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 44.

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Date of creation: 12 Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0044

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Cited by:
  1. Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2013. "Discriminatory Taxes are Unpopular - Even when they are Efficient and Distributionally Fair," Discussion Papers 13-14, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Balafoutas, Loukas & Kocher, Martin G. & Putterman, Louis & Sutter, Matthias, 2010. "Equality, Equity and Incentives: An Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5204, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. R. Kline & F. Galeotti & R. Orsini, 2014. "When Foul Play Seems Fair: Dishonesty as a Response to Violations of Just Deserts," Working Papers wp920, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  4. Höchtl, Wolfgang & Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Inequality aversion and voting on redistribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1406-1421.
  5. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2014. "Tax Incidence in the Presence of Tax Evasion," IZA Discussion Papers 8137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2011. "Are we taxing ourselves?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 164-176.
  7. Marina Agranov & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2014. "Equilibrium Tax Rates and Income Redistribution: A Laboratory Study," NBER Working Papers 19918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Christos Bilanakos, 2012. "Consumers’ Heterogeneity, Publicness of Goods and the Size of Public Sector," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 18-2012, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.

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