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Macroeconomic Consequences of Distributional Conflicts

  • Andreas Schäfer
  • Thomas Steger

This paper aims at better understanding the inefficiency due to distributional conflicts, which are inherent in every market economy. To this end, we set up a simple general equilibrium model with the following characteristics: two groups of agents (capitalists and workers), an endogenous income tax, productive government expenditures, social transfers, and an outside option for capital. The political mechanism employed in this paper accounts for the evidence showing that the degree of organization of major interest groups has an impact on political outcomes and, in addition, allows for strategic interaction among major interest groups. We decompose the overall inefficiency into three components: (i) a fundamental time inconsistency problem; (ii) strategic interaction in the political process; (iii) heterogeneity among individuals and the resulting unavoidable conflict of interest. A numerical exercise (based on OECD data) shows that the distributional-conflict inefficiency may cause a substantial output loss of about 7%.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2007/wp-cesifo-2007-05/cesifo1_wp2007.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2007.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2007
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  1. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  2. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Why Not a Political Coase Theorem? Social Conflict, Commitment and Politics," NBER Working Papers 9377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Hassler & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2003. "The Survival of the Welfare State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 87-112, March.
  4. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 679-741 Elsevier.
  6. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1991. "Factor Shares and Savings In Endogenous Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 576, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Coalition Formation in Political Games," NBER Working Papers 12749, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Arjan Lejour & Harrie Verbon, 1997. "Tax Competition and Redistribution in a Two-Country Endogenous-Growth Model," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 485-497, November.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  10. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  12. Tyran, Jean-Robert & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2006. "A little fairness may induce a lot of redistribution in democracy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 469-485, February.
  13. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1997. "Productive government expenditures and long-run growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 183-204, January.
  14. Lancaster, Kelvin, 1973. "The Dynamic Inefficiency of Capitalism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1092-1109, Sept.-Oct.
  15. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. " Social Conflict and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 125-42, March.
  16. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
  17. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
  18. Francesco Caselli, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3567, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  19. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  20. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
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