Why does the amount of income redistribution differ between United States and Europe? The Janus face of Switzerland
AbstractIn this paper, the amount of income redistribution in the United States, the European Union, and Switzerland is compared and empirically related to economic, political, and behavioral determinants elaborated in the literature. Lying in between the two poles, Switzerland provides unique evidence about the relative merits of competing hypotheses. It tips the balance against the economic explanation, which predicts more rather than less income redistribution in the United States compared to the EU. It only weakly supports the political model linking proportional representation and multiparty structure (which also characterize Switzerland) to redistribution; yet the Swiss share of transfers in the GDP is low. Behavioral explanations receive a good deal of support from the case of Switzerland, a country that shares with the United States the belief that hard work rather than luck, birth, connections, and corruption determine wealth. In this way, the Janus face of Switzerland may help to explain the difference in the amount of U.S. and EU income redistribution.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Zurich, Socioeconomic Institute in its series Working Papers with number 0810.
Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Redistribution; Income Mobility; Openness; Political Economy; Beliefs; Religion; Immigration;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
- I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare and Poverty - - - General Welfare
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-09-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-EEC-2008-09-20 (European Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2008-09-20 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-POL-2008-09-20 (Positive Political Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Michele Sennhauser, 2009. "Why the Linear Utility Function is a Risky Choice in Discrete-Choice Experiments," Working Papers 1014, University of Zurich, Socioeconomic Institute.
- Andreas Polk & Armin Schmutzler & Adrian Muller, 2010. "Lobbying and the Power of Multinational Firms," Working Papers 1008, University of Zurich, Socioeconomic Institute.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marita Kieser).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.