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Democracy, Redistributive Taxation and the Private Provision of Public Goods

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  • Thomas Markussen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

The paper studies in a simple, Downsian model of political competition how the private provision of public goods is affected when it is embedded in a system of democracy and redistributive taxation. Results show that the positive effect of inequality on public goods production, which Olson (1965) pointed to, is weakened and might even be reversed in this context. Also, the median voter may choose a negative tax rate, even if he is poorer than the mean, in order to stimulate public goods production. The relevance of the model is illustrated with an application to the finance of higher education.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/dp_2010/1009.pdf/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 10-09.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1009

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Keywords: public goods; political economy; inequality; taxation; higher education;

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  1. Milanovic, Branko, 2000. "The median-voter hypothesis, income inequality, and income redistribution: an empirical test with the required data," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 367-410, September.
  2. Milanovic, Branko, 2010. "Four critiques of the redistribution hypothesis: An assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 147-154, March.
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  12. 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.
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  18. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 2003. "Public education and income inequality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 289-300, June.
  19. Birdsall, Nancy, 1996. "Public spending on higher education in developing countries: Too much or too little?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 407-419, October.
  20. 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.
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