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Inequality Aversion And The Optimal Composition Of Government Expenditure

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  • Creedy, John
  • Li, Shuyun May
  • Moslehi, Solmaz

Abstract

This paper examines the choice of government expenditure on public goods and transfer payments, in the form of a pension, in an overlapping generations model. Government expenditure is tax-financed on a pay-asyou- go basis. A utilitarian judge chooses expenditures to maximize a social welfare function. The nonlinear solution is found to involve the ratio of a welfare-weighted average income, which depends on the inequality aversion of the judge, to arithmetic mean income. An approximation for this ratio is found which produces explicit solutions for the optimal composition. The result is used to obtain an indication of ‘implicit’ inequality aversion for a range of countries.
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Suggested Citation

  • Creedy, John & Li, Shuyun May & Moslehi, Solmaz, 2010. "Inequality Aversion And The Optimal Composition Of Government Expenditure," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(S2), pages 290-306, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:macdyn:v:14:y:2010:i:s2:p:290-306_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ghiglino, Christian & Tvede, Mich, 2000. "Optimal Policy in OG Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 62-83, January.
    2. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    3. Lambert, Peter J. & Millimet, Daniel L. & Slottje, Daniel, 2003. "Inequality aversion and the natural rate of subjective inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1061-1090, May.
    4. Tridimas, George, 2001. "The Economics and Politics of the Structure of Public Expenditure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(3-4), pages 299-316, March.
    5. Xisco Oliver Rullán & Amedeo Spadaro, 2004. "Are Spanish governments really averse to inequality? a normative analysis using the 1999 Spanish tax reform," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 28(3), pages 551-566, September.
    6. Creedy, John & Moslehi, Solmaz, 2009. "Modelling the composition of government expenditure in democracies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 42-55, March.
    7. Christiansen, Vidar & Jansen, Eilev S., 1978. "Implicit social preferences in the Norwegian system of indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 217-245, October.
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    13. Robert J. Brent, 1984. "Use of Distributional Weights in Cost-Benefit Analysis: a Survey of Schools," Public Finance Review, , vol. 12(2), pages 213-230, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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