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Social mobility and redistributive taxation


  • Konrad, Kai A.
  • Morath, Florian


We investigate redistributive taxation in a political economy experiment and determine how different patterns of social mobility affect the choices of redistributional taxes. In the absence of social mobility, voters choose tax rates that are very well in line with the prediction derived in the standard framework by Meltzer and Richard (1981). However, past or future changes in the income hierarchy affect the choice of the tax rate in the current period. The same is true for social mobility within the period to which the tax rate choice applies and for the case where the choice of the tax rate takes place behind the veil of ignorance. Due to our design of the experiment, these strong effects of own social mobility cannot be attributed to social or other-regarding preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2010. "Social mobility and redistributive taxation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7997, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7997

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Oskar Nupia, 2017. "Income Taxes, Political Accountability and Public Goods Provision," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015835, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    2. Agranov, Marina & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2015. "Equilibrium tax rates and income redistribution: A laboratory study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 45-58.
    3. Sergio Beraldo & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2014. "«Must Reward Hard Work»? An Experiment on Personal Responsibility and Preferences for Redistribution," CSEF Working Papers 377, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    4. Barnett, Richard & Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Bunzel, Helle, 2012. "Voting for immiserizing income redistribution in the Meltzer-Richard model," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2012-15, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    5. Marina Agranov & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2016. "The Effects of Income Mobility and Tax Persistence on Income Redistribution and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 22759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Harald Lang & Florian Morath, 2015. "A Glance into the Tunnel: Experimental Evidence on Income Comparisons under Uncertainty," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2015-13, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    7. Anke Gerber & Andreas Nicklisch & Stefan Voigt, 2013. "Strategic Choices for Redistribution and the Veil of Ignorance: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 4423, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    Median voter; Redistribution; Social mobility;

    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
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General


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