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Social Ideology and Taxes in a Differentiated Candidates Framework

  • Stefan Krasa
  • Mattias Polborn

How does ideological polarization on non-economic matters influence the size of government? We analyze this question using a differentiated candidates framework: Two office-motivated candidates differ in their (fixed) ideological position and their production function for public goods, and choose which tax rate to propose. We provide conditions under which a unique equilibrium exists. In equilibrium, candidates propose different tax rates, and the extent of economic differentiation is influenced by the distribution and intensity of non-economic preferences in the electorate. In turn, the extent of economic differentiation influences whether parties divide the electorate primarily along economic or social lines.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3503.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3503
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  1. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2012. "Political competition between differentiated candidates," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 249-271.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  5. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  7. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2009. "Political Competition between Differentiated Candidates," CESifo Working Paper Series 2560, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Lindqvist, Erik & Östling, Robert, 2008. "Political Polarization and the Size of Government," Working Paper Series 749, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Austen-Smith, David & Wallerstein, Michael, 2006. "Redistribution and affirmative action," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1789-1823, November.
  10. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  11. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  12. Raquel Fernández & Gilat Levy, 2005. "Diversity and redistribution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 544, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. Woojin Lee & John E. Roemer, 2004. "Racism and Redistribution in the United States: A Solution to the Problem of American Exceptionalism," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1462, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2004. "Why Did the Elites Extend the Suffrage? Democracy and the Scope of Government, With an Application to Britain's "Age of Reform"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 705-763, May.
  15. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2010. "Competition between Specialized Candidates," CESifo Working Paper Series 2930, CESifo Group Munich.
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