IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cwl/cwldpp/1637.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Positive Theory of Income Taxation Where Politicians Focus upon Swing and Core Voters

Author

Abstract

We construct an equilibrium model of party competition, in which parties are especially concerned with their core and swing voters, concerns which American political scientists have focused upon in their attempts to understand party behavior in general elections. Parties compete on a large policy space of possible income-tax policies. An element in this infinite-dimensional space is a function which maps pre-fisc income into post-fisc income. The only restrictions are that the function be continuous, and satisfy exogenously specified upper and lower bounds on its derivative, where it is differentiable. Only a fraction of each voter type will vote for each party, perhaps because of issues not modeled here or voter misperceptions of policies. Each party's policy makers comprise two factions, one concerned with maximizing the welfare of its constituency, or its core, the other with winning over swing voters. An equilibrium is a pair of parties (endogenously determined), and a pair of policies, one for each party, in which neither party can deviate to another policy which will be assented to by both its core and swing factions. Formally, this is a Nash equilibrium where each party possesses only a quasi-order over the policy space. We fully characterize the equilibria. There are many. In a specially important case, each party proposes a piece-wise linear tax schedule, and these schedules coincide for a possibly large interval of middle-income voters, while the left' party gives more to the poor and the ‘right’ party more to the rich. An empirical section uses the data of Piketty and Saez on taxation in the US during the twentieth century to assess the model's predictions. We argue that the model is roughly confirmed.

Suggested Citation

  • John E. Roemer, 2008. "A Positive Theory of Income Taxation Where Politicians Focus upon Swing and Core Voters," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1637, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1637
    Note: CFP 1320.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d16/d1637.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political economy; Income taxation; Political equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

    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:cwl:cwldpp:1637. 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: (Matthew Regan). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cowleus.html .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.