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The Impact of Redistributive Policies on Inequality in OECD Countries

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  • Philipp Doerrenberg

    (CGS, University of Cologne)

  • Andreas Peichl

    (IZA, University of Cologne, ISER and CESifo)

Abstract

Recent discussions about rising inequality in industrialized countries have triggered calls for more government intervention and redistribution. Due to obvious behavioral effects caused by redistribution, it is however not clear whether redistributional policies are indeed able to combat inequality. This paper contributes to this relevant research question by using different contextual country-level data sources to study inequality trends in OECD countries since the 1980s. We first investigate the development of inequality over time before analyzing the question of whether governments can effectively reduce inequality. Different identification strategies, using fixed effects and instrumental variables models, provide some evidence that governments are capable of reducing income inequality despite countervailing behavioral adjustments. The effect is stronger for social expenditure policies than for progressive taxation, which seems to trigger more inequality increasing indirect behavioral effects. Our results also suggest that the use of secondary inequality data should be handled with caution.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Doerrenberg & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "The Impact of Redistributive Policies on Inequality in OECD Countries," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 03-05, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgr:cgsser:03-05
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    Cited by:

    1. John V. Duca & Jason L. Saving, 2016. "Income Inequality and Political Polarization: Time Series Evidence Over Nine Decades," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 445-466, September.
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    3. repec:euf:pfremu:pfr-2017-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. K. Sommerfeld, 2013. "Higher and higher? Performance pay and wage inequality in Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(30), pages 4236-4247, October.
    5. Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2016. "Reassessing the Economic Effects of Post-Socialist Constitutions Using the Synthetic Control Method," Working Papers 2016-18, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    6. Florian Dorn & Clemens Fuest & Niklas Potrafke, 2017. "Globalisation and Income Inequality Revisited," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 056, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    7. European Commission, 2013. "Tax reforms in EU Member States - Tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability – 2013 Report," Taxation Papers 38, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    8. András Gábos & Réka Branyiczki & Barbara Lange & György Tóth, 2015. "Employment and poverty dynamics in the EU countries before, during and after the crisis," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/06, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    9. Thibault Darcillon, 2016. "What Determines Top Income Shares? The Role of the Interactions between Financial Integration and Tax Policy," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 16032, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
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    11. repec:eee:ecmode:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:106-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Niklas Potrafke, 2015. "The Evidence on Globalisation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(3), pages 509-552, March.
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    16. Andreas Kuhn, 2012. "Redistributive Preferences, Redistribution and Inequality: Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries," NRN working papers 2012-08, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
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    19. repec:eee:ecanpo:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:90-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Goodness C. Aye & Matthew W. Clance & Rangan Gupta, 2017. "The Effectiveness of Monetary and Fiscal Policy Shocks on U.S. Inequality: The Role of Uncertainty," Working Papers 201782, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    21. Karen Davtyan, 2016. "“Income Inequality and Monetary Policy: An Analysis on the Long Run Relation”," AQR Working Papers 201604, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised Apr 2016.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Redistribution; Social Expenditure; Progressive Taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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