Dynamic Bargaining over Redistribution in Legislatures
In modern democracies, public policies are negotiated among elected policymakers. Yet, most macroeconomic models abstract from post-election negotiation. In order to understand the determinants of redistribution, this paper studies legislative bargaining in a growth model where individuals are heterogeneous in their initial capital. Legislators with time-inconsistent preferences negotiate over a linear capital tax. As often the case in actual budget negotiations, we assume that the default option in every legislative session coincides with the previous period's tax. The endogeneity of the status quo forces policymakers to internalize how current decisions affect their bargaining power in future sessions. This channel has far-reaching implications on equilibrium tax levels and on how taxes vary with the institutional environment. On average we obtain capital taxes between 8% and 50%, depending on the distribution of legislators' wealth and on the specifics of the institutions. Finally, we show that political growth cycles arise: decades with low taxes and growing capital are followed by decades with high taxes and decreasing capital (and vice versa).
|Date of creation:||2012|
|Date of revision:||Dec 2012|
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