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Community and Class Antagonism

  • Dasgupta, Indraneel
  • Kanbur, Ravi

We investigate how vertical unity within a community interacts with horizontal class divisions of an unequal income distribution. Community is conceptualized in terms of a public good to which all those in the community have equal access, but from which outsiders are excluded. We formulate the idea of redistributive tension, or class antagonism, in terms of the costs that poorer individuals would be willing to impose on the rich, to achieve a given gain in personal income. Our conclusion is that the nominal distribution of income could give a misleading picture of tensions in society, both within and across communities. Ideologies of community solidarity may well trump those of class solidarity because of the implicit sharing of community resources brought about by community-specific public goods. Greater economic mobility of particular types may actually exacerbate class tensions instead of attenuating them. We illustrate our theoretical results with a discussion of a number of historical episodes of shifting class tensions and alliances.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/127009
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Paper provided by Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management in its series Working Papers with number 127009.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:127009
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  1. Cornes, Richard & Sandler, Todd, 1994. "The comparative static properties of the impure public good model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 403-421, July.
  2. E. Somanathan, 2002. "Can Growth Ease Class Conflict?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 65-81.
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  4. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
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  8. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  10. Richard Cornes & Todd Sandler, 1998. "Pareto-Improving Redistribution and Pure Public Goods," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 98/04, Department of Economics, Keele University.
  11. Breunig & R. & Dasgupta, I., 1999. "Are People Ashamed of Paying with Food Stamps?," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 1999-382, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  12. Shaohua Chen & Ravallion, Martin, 2000. "How did the world's poorest fare in the 1990s ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2409, The World Bank.
  13. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2004. "Persistent parochialism: trust and exclusion in ethnic networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-23, September.
  15. Indraneel Dasgupta & Ravi Kanbur, 2005. "Community and anti-poverty targeting," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 281-302, December.
  16. Robert Breunig & Indraneel Dasgupta, 2005. "Do Intra-Household Effects Generate the Food Stamp Cash-Out Puzzle?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(3), pages 552-568.
  17. Cornes, Richard, 1993. "Dyke Maintenance and Other Stories: Some Neglected Types of Public Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 259-71, February.
  18. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 1999. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," NBER Working Papers 7155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Roemer, John E., 1998. "Why the poor do not expropriate the rich: an old argument in new garb," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 399-424, December.
  20. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Kanbur, Ravi, 2003. "Bridging Communal Divides: Separation, Patronage, Integration," Working Papers 127235, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  21. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2003. "Economics of common property management regimes," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 127-190 Elsevier.
  22. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1973. "The Dynamic Inefficiency of Capitalism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1092-1109, Sept.-Oct.
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