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Redistributive policies with heterogeneous social preferences of voters

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  • Dhami, Sanjit
  • al-Nowaihi, Ali

Abstract

There is growing evidence on the roles of fairness and other-regarding preferences as fundamental human motives. Call voters with fair preferences, as in Fehr and Schmidt (1999), fair-voters. By contrast, traditional political economy models are based on selfish-voters who derive utility solely from "own" payoff. In a general equilibrium model with endogenous labor supply, a mixture of fair and selfish voters choose optimal policy through majority voting. First, we show that majority voting produces a unique winner in pairwise contests over feasible policies (the Condorcet winner). Second, we show that a preference for greater fairness leads to greater redistribution. An increase in the number of fair voters can also lead to greater redistribution. Third, we show that in economies where the majority are selfish-voters, the decisive policy could be chosen by fair-voters, and vice versa. Fourth, while choosing labor supply, even fair voters behave exactly like selfish voters. We show how this apparently inconsistent behavior in different domains (voting and labor supply) can be rationalized within the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhami, Sanjit & al-Nowaihi, Ali, 2010. "Redistributive policies with heterogeneous social preferences of voters," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 743-759, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:54:y:2010:i:6:p:743-759
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dario Debowizc & Alejandro Saporiti & Yizhi Wang, 2016. "Redistributive Politics, Power Sharing and Fairness," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1604, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    2. Sanjit Dhami, 2017. "Human Ethics and Virtues: Rethinking the Homo-Economicus Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 6836, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Höchtl, Wolfgang & Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Inequality aversion and voting on redistribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1406-1421.
    4. Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2015. "Political (In)Stability of Social Security Reform," Working Papers 2015-21, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    5. Mustra Vinko & Malesevic Perovic Lena & Golem Silvia, 2014. "Social attitudes and regional inequalities," Экономика региона, CyberLeninka;Федеральное государственное бюджетное учреждение науки «Институт экономики Уральского отделения Российской академии наук», issue 1, pages 66-73.
    6. Christos Bilanakos, 2012. "Consumers’ Heterogeneity, Publicness of Goods and the Size of Public Sector," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 18-2012, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.

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