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Inflation, Inequality and Social Conflict

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  • Christopher Crowe

Abstract

This paper presents a political economy model of inflation as a result of social conflict. Agents are heterogeneous in terms of income. Agents' income levels determine their ability to hedge against the effects of inflation. The interaction of heterogeneous cash holdings and preferences over fiscal policy leads to conflict over how to finance government expenditure. The model makes a number of predictions concerning which environments are conducive to the emergence of inflation. Inflation will tend to be higher in countries with higher inequality and with greater pro-rich bias in the political system. Conversely, the use of income tax will be higher in countries with lower inequality and less pro-rich bias. The model also predicts that although inequality and political bias will have an impact on the composition of revenue, it will have no effect on the overall level of government spending (assuming that spending is on public goods only). These results are largely confirmed by the empirical portion of the paper. The paper's novel features are its simplifications at the household level which allow for richer treatment of the income distribution and political process than in the related literature. The paper also gives unequivocal comparative statics results under relatively undemanding assumptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Crowe, 2004. "Inflation, Inequality and Social Conflict," CEP Discussion Papers dp0657, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0657
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Manoel Bittencourt, 2007. "Macroeconomic Performance and Inequality: Brazil 1983-1994," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 163, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Bittencourt, Manoel, 2011. "Inflation and financial development: Evidence from Brazil," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 91-99.
    3. Manoel Bittencourt, 2010. "Financial development and inequality: Brazil 1985–1994," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-130, May.
    4. Carsten Hefeker, 2010. "Taxation, corruption and the exchange rate regime," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 338-346, March.
    5. Eleftherios Thalassinos & Erginbay Ugurlu & Yusuf Muratoglu, 2012. "Income Inequality and Inflation in the EU," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(1), pages 127-140.
    6. Gomes, Orlando, 2006. "Can social interaction contribute to explain business cycles?," MPRA Paper 2848, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:rej:journl:v:20:y:2017:i:63:p:72-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bittencourt, Manoel, 2010. "Democracy, Populism and Hyperinflation[s]: Evidence from Latin America," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 47, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    9. Correa Romar & Rao D. Tripati, 2014. "A Heterodox Economics Critique of Financial Liberalization," Journal of Heterodox Economics, De Gruyter Open, vol. 1(1), pages 79-99, June.
    10. Menji, Sisay, 2008. "Determinants of Recent Inflation in Ethiopia," MPRA Paper 29668, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Olmo Silva, 2004. "Entrepreneurship: Can the Jack-of-All-Trades Attitude be Aquired?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0665, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    probabilistic voting; distributional conflict; fiscal policy; inequality; inflation;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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