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Dynamic Bargaining over Redistribution in Legislatures

  • Facundo Piguillem

    (EIEF)

  • Alessandro Riboni

    (Ecole Polytechnique (Paris) and Université de Montréal)

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).

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Paper provided by Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) in its series EIEF Working Papers Series with number 1206.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision: Dec 2012
Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:1206
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  1. Christopher Phelan & Ennio Stacchetti, 1999. "Sequential equilibria in a Ramsey tax model," Staff Report 258, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2008. "Fiscal Policy over the Real Business Cycle: A Positive Theory," NBER Working Papers 14047, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Marina, Azzimonti & Marco, Battaglini & Stephen, Coate, 2010. "On the Case for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," MPRA Paper 25935, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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