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Income redistribution going awry: The reversal power of the concern for relative deprivation

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  • Stark, Oded
  • Sorger, Gerhard

Abstract

We demonstrate that a rank-preserving transfer from a richer individual to a poorer individual can exacerbate income inequality (when inequality is measured by the Gini coefficient). This happens when individuals' preferences depend negatively not only on work time (effort) but also on low relative income. It is rigorously shown that the set of preference profiles that gives rise to this perverse effect of a transfer on inequality is a non-empty open subset of all preference profiles. A robust example illustrates this result. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences in its series University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance with number 47.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuewef:47

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Keywords: A rank-preserving inequality-narrowing transfer; The Gini coefficient; Low relative income; Relative deprivation; Exacerbated inequality;

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  1. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  2. Ebert, Udo, 1987. "Size and distribution of incomes as determinants of social welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 23-33, February.
  3. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2010. "A Theory of Migration as a Response to Occupational Stigma," Economics Series 247, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  4. Zizzo, D.J. & Oswald, A., 2000. "Are People Willing to Pay to Reduce Others' Incomes?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 568, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1977. "Multidimensional Egalitarianisms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-13, February.
  6. Stark, Oded & Hyll, Walter & Wang, Yong, 2011. "Endogenous Selection of Comparison Groups, Human Capital Formation, and Tax Policy," Discussion Papers 99415, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  7. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-85, November.
  8. David Andolfatto, 2000. "A Theory of Inalienable Property Rights," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 110, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  9. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Hypertension and Happiness across Nations," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 828, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  10. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 4414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2010. "Migration for degrading work as an escape from humiliation," MPRA Paper 28905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Oded Stark & Walter Hyll, 2011. "On the Economic Architecture of the Workplace: Repercussions of Social Comparisons among Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 349 - 375.
  13. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1978. "Measures of relative equality and their meaning in terms of social welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-80, June.
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  20. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
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  22. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-25, April.
  23. Fliessbach, Klaus & Weber, Bernd & Trautner, P. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Sunde, Uwe & Elger, C. E. & Falk, Armin, 2007. "Social comparison affects reward-related brain activity in the human ventral striatum," Munich Reprints in Economics 20362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  24. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931.
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  28. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  29. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-78, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Stark, Oded & Jakubek, Marcin & Falniowski, Fryderyk, 2013. "Reconciling the Rawlsian and the utilitarian approaches to the maximization of social welfare," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 65, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
  2. Stark, Oded, 2014. "On the economics of others," Discussion Papers 164965, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).

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