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Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases

  • Ruediger Bachmann

    (RTWH University Aachen)

  • Jinhui Bai

    (Georgetown University)

This paper explores the implications of economic and political inequality for the comovement of government purchases with macroeconomic fluctuations. We set up and compute a heterogeneous-agent neoclassical growth model, where households value government purchases which are financed by income taxes. A key feature of the model is a wealth bias in the political aggregation process. When calibrated to U.S. wealth inequality and exposed to aggregate productivity shocks, such a model is able to generate weaker positive comovement of government purchases than models with no political wealth bias. The wealth bias thatmatches the cross-sectional campaign contribution distribution by income is consistent with themild positive comovement of government purchases in the aggregate data. We thus provide an empirically relevant example where economic and political heterogeneity matter for aggregate dynamics. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2012.09.008
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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 565-580

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:11-243
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