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Intergenerational Redistribution with Short-Lived Governments

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  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Elhanan Helpman

Abstract

We study the politics of intergenerational redistribution in an overlapping generations model with short-lived governments. The successive governmentsþwho care about the welfare of the currently living generations and possibly about campaign contributionsþare unable to pre-commit the future course of redistributive taxation. In a stationary politico-economic equilibrium, the tax rate in each period depends on the current value of the state variable and all expectations about future political outcomes are fulfilled. We find that there exist multiple stationary equilibria in many political settings. Steady-state welfare is often lower than it would be in the absence of redistributive politics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5447.

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Date of creation: Jan 1996
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Publication status: published as Economic Journal, Vol. 108, no. 45 (September 1998): 1299-1325.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5447

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  1. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-50, September.
  2. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "Sustainable Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 783-802, August.
  3. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
  4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 265-86, April.
  5. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-88, September.
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  8. Leininger, Wolfgang, 1986. "The Existence of Perfect Equilibria in a Model of Growth with Altruism between Generations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 349-67, July.
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  14. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  17. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-32, September.
  18. Dixit, Avinash K & Londregan, John, 1994. "The Determinants of Success of Special Interests in Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 1054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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