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Income distribution, borrowing constraints and redistributive policies

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  • Bellettini, Giorgio
  • Berti Ceroni, Carlotta

Abstract

This paper proposes an explanation for why universal suffrage has not implied larger rich-to-poor transfers of wealth. The main argument is that, in the presence of borrowing constraints, if current taxation finances (at least partially) policies that redistribute future income, the poor, who are more likely to be liquidity constrained, may form a coalition with the rich and vote for low redistribution. In this context, the effects of an increase in income inequality is concentrated among the poor or the middle class. In the former case, an increase in inequality tends to decrease redistribution, whereas, in the latter case, it tends to increase redistribution.
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  • Bellettini, Giorgio & Berti Ceroni, Carlotta, 2007. "Income distribution, borrowing constraints and redistributive policies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 625-645, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:51:y:2007:i:3:p:625-645
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    Cited by:

    1. Tetsuo Ono, 2016. "Marital Status and Derived Pension Rights: A Political Economy Model of Public Pensions with Borrowing Constraints," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 18(1), pages 99-124, February.
    2. Tarishi Matsuoka & Katsuyuki Naito & Keigo Nishida, 2011. "The Politics of Financial Development and Capital Accumulation," KIER Working Papers 793, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    3. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2015. "Redistributive Politics And Government Debt In A Borrowing-Constrained Economy," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 83-103, January.
    4. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2009. "The Political Economy of Social Security and Public Goods Provision in a Borrowing-constrained Economy," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 09-38, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    5. Kosec, Katrina, 2014. "Relying on the private sector: The income distribution and public investments in the poor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 320-342.
    6. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2011. "Old-age Social Security vs. Forward Intergenerational Public Goods Provision," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 11-26-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Apr 2012.
    7. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2008. "Aging, Inequality and Social Security," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-19, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    8. Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "One Dollar, One Vote," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 621-651, June.
    9. Christophe Hachon, 2009. "A Dynamic Explanation of the Crisis of the Welfare State," Working Papers halshs-00371205, HAL.
    10. Eisenhauer, Joseph G., 2011. "The rich, the poor, and the middle class: Thresholds and intensity indices," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 294-304, December.
    11. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2014. "Old-age Social Security versus Forward Intergenerational Public Goods Provision," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 282-315, September.

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