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Does Redistribution Reduce Inequality?

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  • Davies, James B

Abstract

The steady-state effect on inequality of linear redistributive schemes based on the taxation of earnings, inheritances, or some combination of the two is examined. Dynasties that exhibit asexual reproduction and altruism are modeled. Earnings ability, which may be correlated across generations, is exogenous and drawn from a station ary distribution. Taxing inheritances increases inequality by reducing the inter generational averaging of "luck." Taxing lifetime wealth or income adds a lump-sum tax on earnings, making redistribution more successful. However, this success is sensitive to the relative size of mean earnings and inheritances. Copyright 1986 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Davies, James B, 1986. "Does Redistribution Reduce Inequality?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 538-559, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:4:y:1986:i:4:p:538-59
    DOI: 10.1086/298109
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    Cited by:

    1. Zilcha, Itzhak, 2003. "Intergenerational transfers, production and income distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 489-513, March.
    2. Elinder, Mikael & Erixson, Oscar & Waldenström, Daniel, 2018. "Inheritance and wealth inequality: Evidence from population registers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 17-30.
    3. Jordi Caballé & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2008. "The Effect of Aspirations, Habits, and Social Security on the Distribution of Wealth," ThE Papers 08/02, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    4. Fischer, Thomas, 2019. "Determinants of Wealth Inequality and Mobility in General Equilibrium," Working Papers 2019:22, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    5. Edward Wolff & Maury Gittleman, 2014. "Inheritances and the distribution of wealth or whatever happened to the great inheritance boom?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(4), pages 439-468, December.
    6. Zhu, Shenghao, 2013. "Comparisons of stationary distributions of linear models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 221-223.
    7. Jing Wan & Shenghao Zhu, 2019. "Bequests, estate taxes, and wealth distributions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 67(1), pages 179-210, February.
    8. Jordi Caballé & Luisa Fuster, 2000. "Pay-as-you-go social security and the distribution of bequests," Economics Working Papers 468, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    9. Pietro Reichlin, 2020. "Social welfare, parental altruism, and inequality," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 22(5), pages 1391-1419, September.
    10. Bossmann, Martin & Kleiber, Christian & Walde, Klaus, 2007. "Bequests, taxation and the distribution of wealth in a general equilibrium model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1247-1271, August.
    11. Shenghao Zhu, 2019. "A Becker–Tomes model with investment risk," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 67(4), pages 951-981, June.
    12. Max Franks & David Klenert & Anselm Schultes & Kai Lessmann & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2018. "Is capital back? The role of land ownership and savings behavior," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(5), pages 1252-1276, October.
    13. Ana I. Moro-Egido, 2004. "Educational System, Altruism and Inequality in the Distribution of Income," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/46, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.

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