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Credible Redistributive Policies and Migration across US States

  • Roc Armenter

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

  • Francesc Ortega

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

We ask whether worker mobility has undermined the ability of U.S. states to redistribute income. We build a tractable model where both migration decisions and redistribution policies are jointly determined. Our model features a large number of heterogeneous regions and skilled and unskilled workers with idiosyncratic migration costs. The calibrated model is able to account for the main features of interstate migration in the US, as well as some qualitative features of the cross-sectional distribution of redistributive policies. We conduct a counterfactual experiment in order to isolate the effect of worker mobility on state-level redistributive policies. We find that migration has induced substantial convergence in tax rates across U.S. states, but no race to the bottom. Interestingly, the degree of convergence has been much lower for transfers due to an offsetting tax-base effect. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2010.02.001
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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 403-423

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:09-58
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