IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/10086.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Democratic Redistribution and Rule of the Majority

Author

Listed:
  • Corneo, Giacomo
  • Neher, Frank

Abstract

Does redistribution in democracies cater to the will of the majority? We propose and apply a simple empirical strategy based on survey data to address that longstanding issue. Differently from previous evaluations of the median-voter theory, ours does not assume that voters are guided by pecuniary motives alone. We find that most democracies do implement the amount of redistribution advocated by the median voter and the probability to serve the median voter increases with the quality of democracy. However, we detect a non-negligible share of democracies that implement a minority-backed amount of redistribution. Such outcomes cannot be explained by political absenteeism of the poor. They can be explained by the electoral bundling of redistribution with values and rights issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Corneo, Giacomo & Neher, Frank, 2014. "Democratic Redistribution and Rule of the Majority," CEPR Discussion Papers 10086, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10086
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10086
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
    2. Lee, Woojin & Roemer, John E., 2006. "Racism and redistribution in the United States: A solution to the problem of American exceptionalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1027-1052, August.
    3. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    4. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    5. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    6. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    7. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    8. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob De Haan, 2015. "Income Inequality, Capitalism, and Ethno-linguistic Fractionalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 593-597, May.
    9. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    10. Francesco Scervini, 2012. "Empirics of the median voter: democracy, redistribution and the role of the middle class," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(4), pages 529-550, December.
    11. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
    12. Milanovic, Branko, 2010. "Four critiques of the redistribution hypothesis: An assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 147-154, March.
    13. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2009. "A theory of tolerance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 691-702, June.
    14. 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.
    15. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
    16. Ilyana Kuziemko & Michael I. Norton & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "How Elastic Are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1478-1508, April.
    17. Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2010. "Work Values, Endogenous Sentiments and Redistribution," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 815.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    18. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2011. "Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 923-947, May.
    19. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
    20. Cervellati, Matteo & Esteban, Joan & Kranich, Laurence, 2010. "Work values, endogenous sentiments redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 612-627, October.
    21. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
    22. Matz Dahlberg & Karin Edmark & Heléne Lundqvist, 2012. "Ethnic Diversity and Preferences for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(1), pages 41-76.
    23. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Trust in government and its effect on preferences for income redistribution and perceived tax burden," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 71-100, February.
    24. 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.
    25. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2012. "Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983–2004," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 537-563, June.
    26. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Who wants to redistribute?: The tunnel effect in 1990s Russia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 87-104, April.
    27. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 158-183, December.
    28. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-179, February.
    29. Höchtl, Wolfgang & Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Inequality aversion and voting on redistribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1406-1421.
    30. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't The US Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1933, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    31. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    32. 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.
    33. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-187, June.
    34. Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Social capital, household income, and preferences for income redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 498-511.
    35. Engelhardt, Carina & Wagener, Andreas, 2014. "Biased Perceptions of Income Inequality and Redistribution," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100395, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    36. John Roemer & Karine Straeten, 2005. "Xenophobia and the Size of the Public Sector in France: A Politico-economic Analysis," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 86(2), pages 95-144, November.
    37. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
    38. Mamta Murthi & Erwin R Tiongson, 2009. "Attitudes to Income Equality: The ‘Socialist Legacy’ Revisited," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 51(3), pages 344-366, September.
    39. 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 914-927, October.
    40. Milanovic, Branko, 2000. "The median-voter hypothesis, income inequality, and income redistribution: an empirical test with the required data," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 367-410, September.
    41. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
    42. Klor, Esteban F. & Shayo, Moses, 2010. "Social identity and preferences over redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 269-278, April.
    43. Shayo, Moses, 2009. "A Model of Social Identity with an Application to Political Economy: Nation, Class, and Redistribution," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 147-174, May.
    44. Daniele, Gianmarco & Geys, Benny, 2015. "Interpersonal trust and welfare state support," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-12.
    45. Casper, Gretchen & Tufis, Claudiu, 2003. "Correlation Versus Interchangeability: The Limited Robustness of Empirical Findings on Democracy Using Highly Correlated Data Sets," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 196-203, March.
    46. Bernasconi, Michele, 2006. "Redistributive taxation in democracies: Evidence on people's satisfaction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 809-837, December.
    47. Adam Bonica & Nolan McCarty & Keith T. Poole & Howard Rosenthal, 2013. "Why Hasn't Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 103-124, Summer.
    48. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2013. "Democracy, Redistribution and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 19746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    49. Cojocaru, Alexandru, 2014. "Prospects of upward mobility and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from the Life in Transition Survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 300-314.
    50. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't the US Have a European-Style Welfare System?," NBER Working Papers 8524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Gilles Le Garrec, 2014. "Fairness, socialization and the cultural deman for redistribution," Sciences Po publications 2014-20, Sciences Po.
    2. Dorsch, Michael T. & Maarek, Paul, 2020. "Economic downturns, inequality, and democratic improvements," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    3. Peter J. Stauvermann & Ronald R. Kumar, 2018. "Adult Learning, Economic Growth and the Distribution of Income," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(1), pages 1-12, February.
    4. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2017. "Inequality, redistribution and cultural integration in the Welfare State," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 122-140.
    5. Herwartz, Helmut & Theilen, Bernd, 2017. "Ideology and redistribution through public spending," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 74-90.
    6. Lunder, Trond Erik, 2016. "Between centralized and decentralized welfare policy: Have national guidelines constrained the influence of local preferences?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1-13.
    7. Islam, Md. Rabiul & Madsen, Jakob B. & Doucouliagos, Hristos, 2018. "Does inequality constrain the power to tax? Evidence from the OECD," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-17.
    8. Jensen, Jeffrey L. & Yntiso, Sidak, 2019. "Democratic reversals and the size of government," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 21-49.
    9. Craig Brett & John A. Weymark, 2020. "Majority rule and selfishly optimal nonlinear income tax schedules with discrete skill levels," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 54(2), pages 337-362, March.
    10. Andreoli, Francesco & Olivera, Javier, 2020. "Preferences for redistribution and exposure to tax-benefit schemes in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    11. Gilles Le Garrec, 2018. "Fairness, social norms and the cultural demand for redistribution," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50(2), pages 191-212, February.
    12. Gilles Le Garrec, 2014. "Fairness, socialization and the cultural deman for redistribution," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2014-20, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    13. Branko MILANOVIC, 2019. "Market income inequality, left-wing political parties, and redistribution in Latin America," Working Paper cd1121c5-2962-4233-85cc-c, Agence française de développement.
    14. Wickström, Bengt-Arne, 2020. "On the political economy of minority rights. Three ways to manipulate a minority: Goals, rules, and border poles," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    15. Choi, Gwangeun, 2019. "Revisiting the redistribution hypothesis with perceived inequality and redistributive preferences," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 220-244.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Neher, Frank, 2012. "Preferences for redistribution around the world," Discussion Papers 2012/2, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    2. Andreoli, Francesco & Olivera, Javier, 2020. "Preferences for redistribution and exposure to tax-benefit schemes in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    3. Cervellati, Matteo & Esteban, Joan & Kranich, Laurence, 2010. "Work values, endogenous sentiments redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 612-627, October.
    4. Gilles Le Garrec, 2014. "Fairness, socialization and the cultural deman for redistribution," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2014-20, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    5. Matteo Cervellati & Joan-Maria Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2010. "Work Values, Endogenous Sentiments and Redistribution," Working Papers 434, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    6. Gilles Le Garrec, 2014. "Fairness, socialization and the cultural deman for redistribution," Sciences Po publications 2014-20, Sciences Po.
    7. Gilles Le Garrec, 2018. "Fairness, social norms and the cultural demand for redistribution," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50(2), pages 191-212, February.
    8. Neher, Frank, 2012. "Preferences for Redistribution around the World," Working Papers 26/2012, Universidade Portucalense, Centro de Investigação em Gestão e Economia (CIGE).
    9. Pfarr Christian & Ulrich Volker, 2011. "Discrete-Choice-Experimente zur Ermittlung der Präferenzen für Umverteilung," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 62(3), pages 232-262, December.
    10. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2012. "Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983–2004," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 537-563, June.
    11. Luna Bellani & Heinrich Ursprung, 2016. "The Political Economy of Redistribution Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 6189, CESifo.
    12. Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2003. "The Social Contracts with Endogenous Sentiments," Working Papers 71, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    13. Erik Schokkaert & Tom Truyts, 2017. "Preferences for redistribution and social structure," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 545-576, December.
    14. Javier Olivera, 2015. "Preferences for redistribution in Europe," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-18, December.
    15. Eiji Yamamura, 2021. "Information of income position and its impact on perceived tax burden and preference for redistribution: An Internet Survey Experiment," Papers 2106.11537, arXiv.org.
    16. Gallice, Andrea, 2018. "Social status, preferences for redistribution and optimal taxation: A survey," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal (2007-2020), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 12, pages 1-17.
    17. Holger Stichnoth, 2012. "Does immigration weaken natives’ support for the unemployed? Evidence from Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 631-654, June.
    18. Erik Lindqvist & Robert Östling, 2013. "Identity and redistribution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 469-491, June.
    19. Tina Haussen, 2018. "Intra-Household Income Inequality and Preferences for Redistribution," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-004, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    20. Ilja Neustadt & Peter Zweifel, 2010. "Is the Welfare State Sustainable? Experimental Evidence on Citizens’ Preferences for Redistribution," SOI - Working Papers 1003, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    democracy; income redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10086. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.