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The Political Class and Redistributive Policies


  • Alejandro Corvalan
  • Pablo Querubín
  • Sergio Vicente


We study the relationship between the composition of the political class and the size of government. First, we use a citizen-candidate model to show that the extension of suffrage is inconsequential for government spending when stricter eligibility requirements are in place. The removal of eligibility requirements, on the other hand, leads to the election of less wealthy politicians and the enactment of more redistributive policies. We test these predictions empirically using data from the 13 U.S. original states. We find no robust correlation between the extension of the franchise and government spending or the composition of the political class. However, the subsequent elimination of eligibility restrictions is associated with an increase in government spending and the election of state senators with a less elite background.

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  • Alejandro Corvalan & Pablo Querubín & Sergio Vicente, 2020. "The Political Class and Redistributive Policies," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 1-48.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:18:y:2020:i:1:p:1-48.

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    Cited by:

    1. Justus Baron & Bernhard Ganglmair & Nicola Persico & Timothy Simcoe & Emanuele Tarantino, 2021. "Representation Is Not Sufficient For Selecting Gender Diversity," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2021_284, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    2. Jean Lacroix, 2023. "Ballots Instead of Bullets? The Effect of the Voting Rights Act on Political Violence," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 764-813.
    3. Giri Parameswaran & Hunter Rendleman, 2022. "Redistribution under general decision rules," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 24(1), pages 159-196, February.

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