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Socially Optimal Redistribution and Growth: A Further Warning on the Welfare Significance of Representative Consumers' Preferences


  • Volker Grossmann


In this paper, it is illustrated in a simple balanced growth model with redistributive capital income taxation that it is generally misleading to attribute welfare significance to the preferences of a representative consumer, if lump sum redistribution is unfeasible. This result holds even if a representative agent exists for all endowment distributions, i.e. even if there always exists an endowment distribution such that utility of the representative consumer has welfare significance for any social welfare function. Moreover, it can be concluded from our example that, in general, the net return to capital should be lower than the (social) marginal productivity of capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Volker Grossmann, 2000. "Socially Optimal Redistribution and Growth: A Further Warning on the Welfare Significance of Representative Consumers' Preferences," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(2), pages 182-182, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200103)57:2_182:soraga_2.0.tx_2-_

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Petros Varthalitis, 2016. "Monetary Union, Even Higher Integration, or Back to National Currencies?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 62(2), pages 232-255.
    2. Davide Furceri & Aleksandra Zdzienicka, 2015. "The Euro Area Crisis: Need for a Supranational Fiscal Risk Sharing Mechanism?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 683-710, September.
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    4. Evers, Michael P., 2015. "Fiscal federalism and monetary unions: A quantitative assessment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 59-75.
    5. Michael D. Bordo & Lars Jonung & Agnieszka Markiewicz, 2013. "A Fiscal Union for the Euro: Some Lessons from History ," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 59(3), pages 449-488, September.
    6. Sorensen, Bent E. & Yosha, Oved, 1998. "International risk sharing and European monetary unification," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 211-238, August.
    7. Afonso, António & Furceri, Davide, 2008. "EMU enlargement, stabilization costs and insurance mechanisms," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 169-187, March.
    8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 623-646, May.
    9. Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "European Fiscal Union: What Is It? Does It work? And Are There Really 'No Alternatives'?," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 13(1), pages 03-09, April.
    10. Zhao, Bo, 2014. "Saving for a rainy day: estimating the appropriate size of U.S. state budget stabilization funds," Working Papers 14-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    11. Neumann, Dirk & Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Fiscal Union in Europe? Efficiency, Equity and Stabilizing Effects of an EU-Wide Income Tax," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 66063, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General


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