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Democratic redistribution and rule of the majority

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  • Corneo, Giacomo
  • Neher, Frank

Abstract

Does redistribution in democracies cater to the will of the majority? We propose a direct empirical strategy based on survey data that needs not assume that voters are guided by pecuniary motives alone. We find that most democracies implement the median voter's preferred amount of redistribution and the probability to serve the median voter increases with the quality of democracy. However, there is a non-negligible share of democracies that implement a minority-backed amount of redistribution. Political absenteeism of the poor cannot explain such outcomes. Rather, they can be explained by the electoral bundling of redistribution with values and rights issues.

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  • Corneo, Giacomo & Neher, Frank, 2015. "Democratic redistribution and rule of the majority," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 96-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:40:y:2015:i:pa:p:96-109
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2015.08.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilles Le Garrec, 2014. "Fairness, socialization and the cultural deman for redistribution," Sciences Po publications 2014-20, Sciences Po.
    2. Dorsch, Michael T. & Maarek, Paul, 2020. "Economic downturns, inequality, and democratic improvements," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    3. Peter J. Stauvermann & Ronald R. Kumar, 2018. "Adult Learning, Economic Growth and the Distribution of Income," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(1), pages 1-12, February.
    4. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2017. "Inequality, redistribution and cultural integration in the Welfare State," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 122-140.
    5. Herwartz, Helmut & Theilen, Bernd, 2017. "Ideology and redistribution through public spending," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 74-90.
    6. Lunder, Trond Erik, 2016. "Between centralized and decentralized welfare policy: Have national guidelines constrained the influence of local preferences?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1-13.
    7. Islam, Md. Rabiul & Madsen, Jakob B. & Doucouliagos, Hristos, 2018. "Does inequality constrain the power to tax? Evidence from the OECD," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-17.
    8. Jensen, Jeffrey L. & Yntiso, Sidak, 2019. "Democratic reversals and the size of government," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 21-49.
    9. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2020. "Majority rule and selfishly optimal nonlinear income tax schedules with discrete skill levels," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 54(2), pages 337-362, March.
    10. Andreoli, Francesco & Olivera, Javier, 2020. "Preferences for redistribution and exposure to tax-benefit schemes in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    11. Gilles Le Garrec, 2018. "Fairness, social norms and the cultural demand for redistribution," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50(2), pages 191-212, February.
    12. Gilles Le Garrec, 2014. "Fairness, socialization and the cultural deman for redistribution," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2014-20, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    13. Branko MILANOVIC, 2019. "Market income inequality, left-wing political parties, and redistribution in Latin America," Working Paper cd1121c5-2962-4233-85cc-c, Agence française de développement.
    14. Wickström, Bengt-Arne, 2020. "On the political economy of minority rights. Three ways to manipulate a minority: Goals, rules, and border poles," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    15. Choi, Gwangeun, 2019. "Revisiting the redistribution hypothesis with perceived inequality and redistributive preferences," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 220-244.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Redistribution; Democracy; Median-voter theorem; Inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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