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Modelling the Composition of Government Expenditure in Democracies

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  • John Creedy
  • Solmaz Moslehi

Abstract

This paper considers whether the ratio of transfer payments to expenditure on public goods in democracies can be explained as the outcome of majority voting. A simple model is constructed in which individuals vote for government expenditure on a public good, for a given income tax rate. The transfer payment is then determined by the government’s budget constraint. The equilibrium ratio of transfers to public good expenditure per person is expressed as a quadratic function both of the ratio of the median to the mean wage, and of the tax rate. Data for 29 democratic countries are used to estimate a cross-sectional regression. The empirical results confirm that reductions in the skewness of the wage rate distribution are associated with reductions in transfer payments relative to public goods expenditure, at a decreasing rate. Furthermore, increases in the tax rate, from relatively low levels, are associated with increases in the relative importance of transfer payments. But beyond a certain level, further tax rate increases are associated with a lower ratio of transfers to public goods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1007.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1007

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  1. Hassler, John & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2003. "Democratic Public Good Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 4044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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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  15. Jean-Robert Tyran & Rupert Sausgruber, 2002. "A Little Fairness may Induce a Lot of Redistribution in Democracy," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-30, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  16. Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2005. "The dynamics of government," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1331-1358, October.
  17. Tridimas, George, 2001. " The Economics and Politics of the Structure of Public Expenditure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(3-4), pages 299-316, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Creedy, John & Moslehi, Solmaz, 2012. "The Composition of Government Expenditure with Alternative Choice Mechanisms," Working Paper Series 2433, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
  2. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2007. "The Optimal Composition of Government Expenditure," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1008, The University of Melbourne.
  3. Tetsuo Ono, 2013. "Public Education and Social Security: A Political Economy Approach," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-06, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  4. John Creedy & Shuyun May Li & Solmaz Moslehi, 2009. "The Composition of Government Expenditure in an Overlapping Generations Model," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1064, The University of Melbourne.
  5. John Creedy & Solamz Moslehi, 2010. "The optimal composition of government expenditure among transfers, education and public goods," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 194(3), pages 41-64, June.
  6. Tetsuo Ono, 2014. "Economic Growth and the Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-17, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  7. Agnese Sacchi & Simone Salotti, 2012. "A comprehensive anlysis of expenditure decentralization and of the composition of local public spending," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0155, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
  8. Momi Dahan & Michel Strawczynski, 2010. "Fiscal Rules and Composition Bias in OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 3088, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2008. "Voting over Taxes and Expenditure: The Role of Home Production," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1052, The University of Melbourne.
  10. John Creedy & Shuyun May Li & Solmaz Moslehi, 2009. "Inequality Aversion and the Optimal Composition of Government Expenditure," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1086, The University of Melbourne.
  11. Tetsuo Ono, 2013. "Inequality Dynamics and the Politics of Redistribution," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 12-09-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  12. Tetsuo Ono, 2013. "Public Education and Social Security: A Political Economy Approach," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-06-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).

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