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Redistributive Politics with Distortionary Taxation


  • Crutzen, Benoît SY
  • Sahuguet, Nicolas


We extend the discussion of redistributive politics across electoral systems to allow for taxation to be distortionary. We allow politicians to choose any tax rate between zero and unity and then redistribute the money collected. We build on the model put forward by Myerson (1993) and Lizzeri and Persico (2001 and 2005) to show that the use of distortionnary taxation can be understood as an analysis of the trade-off between efficiency and targetability. We derive the equilibrium taxes and redistribution schemes with distortions. We show that the presence of distortions makes full taxation unattractive. We also derive the size of the government, the deadweight loss and inequality as a function of distortions.

Suggested Citation

  • Crutzen, Benoît SY & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2006. "Redistributive Politics with Distortionary Taxation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5975, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5975

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Boyer, Pierre C. & Konrad, Kai A. & Roberson, Brian, 2017. "Targeted campaign competition, loyal voters, and supermajorities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 49-62.
    2. Subhasish Chowdhury & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2013. "An experimental investigation of Colonel Blotto games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 52(3), pages 833-861, April.
    3. Castanheira, Micael & Nicodème, Gaëtan & Profeta, Paola, 2011. "On the political economics of tax reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Dan Kovenock & David Rojo Arjona & Nathaniel T. Wilcox, 2016. "Focality and asymmetry in multi-battle contests," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 16-12, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    5. Felix J. Bierbrauer & Pierre C. Boyer, 2016. "Efficiency, Welfare, and Political Competition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 461-518.
    6. Kovenock, Dan & Roberson, Brian, 2011. "Non-partisan ‘get-out-the-vote’ efforts and policy outcomes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 728-739.
    7. Micael Castanheira & Gaëtan Nicodème & Paola Profeta, 2012. "On the political economics of tax reforms: survey and empirical assessment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(4), pages 598-624, August.
    8. Esslinger, Christoph & Boyer, Pierre, 2015. "Public debt and the political economy of reforms," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113107, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Dan J. Kovenock & Brian Roberson, 2015. "Generalizations of the General Lotto and Colonel Blotto Games," CESifo Working Paper Series 5291, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Bierbrauer, Felix J. & Boyer, Pierre C., 2013. "Political competition and Mirrleesian income taxation: A first pass," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 1-14.
    11. Sandro Brusco & Luca Colombo & Umberto Galmarini, 2014. "Tax differentiation, lobbying, and welfare," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(4), pages 977-1006, April.

    More about this item


    distortionary taxation; redistributive politics;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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