Modelling the composition of government expenditure in democracies
This paper considers majority voting over the ratio of transfer payments to per capita expenditure on public goods. A model is constructed in which individuals vote for government expenditure on a public good, for a given income tax rate. Labour supply is endogenous. The equilibrium ratio of transfers to public good expenditure is a function of the ratio of median to mean wages and the tax rate. Cross-sectional regressions confirmed that reductions in the skewness of the wage rate distribution are associated with reductions in transfer payments relative to public goods expenditure, at a decreasing rate. Increases in the tax rate initially increase the importance of transfer payments but eventually tax rate increases lead to lower transfers.
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