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Inflation, Inequality and Social Conflict

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  • Chris Crowe

    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

This paper presents a political economy model of inflation as a result of social conflict. Agents are heterogeneous in terms of income. Agents' income levels determine their ability to hedge against the effects of inflation. The interaction of heterogeneous cash holdings and preferences over fiscal policy leads to conflict over how to finance government expenditure. The model makes a number of predictions concerning which environments are conducive to the emergence of inflation. Inflation will tend to be higher in countries with higher inequality and with greater pro-rich bias in the political system. Conversely, the use of income tax will be higher in countries with lower inequality and less pro-rich bias. The model also predicts that although inequality and political bias will have an impact on the composition of revenue, it will have no effect on the overall level of government spending (assuming that spending is on public goods only). These results are largely confirmed by the empirical portion of the paper. The paper's novel features are its simplifications at the household level which allow for richer treatment of the income distribution and political process than in the related literature. The paper also gives unequivocal comparative statics results under relatively undemanding assumptions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Money Macro and Finance Research Group in its series Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2004 with number 69.

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Date of creation: 17 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:mmf:mmfc04:69

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  1. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman & Mark A. Wynne, 2000. "Inequality, inflation, and central bank independence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 271-287, February.
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  25. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gomes, Orlando, 2006. "Can social interaction contribute to explain business cycles?," MPRA Paper 2848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Manoel Bittencourt, 2007. "Macroeconomic Performance and Inequality: Brazil 1983-1994," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 163, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Manoel Bittencourt, 2008. "Inflation and Financial Development: Evidence from Brazil," Working Papers 67, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  4. Carsten Hefeker, 2009. "Taxation, Corruption and the Exchange Rate Regime," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200911, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  5. Eleftherios Thalassinos & Erginbay Ugurlu & Yusuf Muratoglu, 2012. "Income Inequality and Inflation in the EU," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(1), pages 127-140.
  6. Manoel Bittencourt, 2010. "Financial development and inequality: Brazil 1985–1994," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-130, May.
  7. Olmo Silva, 2004. "Entrepreneurship: Can the Jack-of-All-Trades Attitude be Aquired?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0665, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Bittencourt, Manoel, 2010. "Democracy, Populism and Hyperinflation[s]: Evidence from Latin America," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 47, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  9. Menji, Sisay, 2008. "Determinants of Recent Inflation in Ethiopia," MPRA Paper 29668, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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