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The political Economy of Wealth and Interest

  • HansPeter Grüner
  • Rüdiger Schils
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    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.

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    Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 117 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 523 (October)
    Pages: 1403-1422

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    Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:523:p:1403-1422
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    1. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1991. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 211-35, April.
    2. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    3. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
    4. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 1001-1026, October.
    5. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
    6. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2005. "Land Inequality and the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions," Development and Comp Systems 0502018, EconWPA.
    7. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    8. 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.
    9. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
    10. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Representative democracy and capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 53-70, September.
    11. Piketty, Thomas, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 173-89, April.
    12. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
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