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The political Economy of Wealth and Interest

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  • HansPeter Grüner
  • Rüdiger Schils

Abstract

We study the relationship between wealth redistribution and the allocation of firm-ownership. The economy's wealth distribution affects the equilibrium interest rate and the allocation of entrepreneurial rents when wealth determines agents' ability to borrow. This leads to an unconventional voting behaviour of the politically decisive middle class: the political preferences of middle and upper class voters coincide when redistribution only has an adverse interest-rate effect. Middle class voters vote with the lower class if redistribution gives access to entrepreneurial rents. Technology may strongly affect political outcomes. Greater inequality amplifies the interest-rate effect and may lead to less redistribution. Copyright 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • HansPeter Grüner & Rüdiger Schils, 2007. "The political Economy of Wealth and Interest," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1403-1422, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:523:p:1403-1422
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Representative democracy and capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 53-70, September.
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    3. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1001-1026.
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    6. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    7. Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 755-776.
    8. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    9. Roemer, John E., 1998. "Why the poor do not expropriate the rich: an old argument in new garb," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 399-424, December.
    10. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2012. "Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983–2004," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 537-563, June.
    2. Hans Grüner, 2009. "Inequality and Political Consensus," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 239-265, September.
    3. Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "One Dollar, One Vote," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 621-651, June.
    4. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2008. "Capital Markets, Information Aggregation and Inequality: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Luna Bellani & Heinrich Ursprung, 2016. "The Political Economy of Redistribution Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 6189, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Markus Brückner & Kerstin Gerling & Hans Grüner, 2010. "Wealth inequality and credit markets: evidence from three industrialized countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 155-176, June.
    7. Hodler, Roland, 2008. "Leisure and redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 354-363, June.

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