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Redistribution, taxes, and the median voter

  • Marco Bassetto
  • Jess Benhabib

We study a simple model of production, accumulation, and redistribution, where agents are heterogeneous in their initial wealth, and a sequence of redistributive tax rates is voted upon. Though the policy is infinite-dimensional, we prove that a median voter theorem holds if households have identical, Gorman aggregable preferences; furthermore, the tax policy preferred by the median voter has the “bang- bang” property.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-06-02.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-06-02
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  1. Jess Benhabib & Adam Przeworski, 2006. "The political economy of redistribution under democracy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 271-290, October.
  2. William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Wallis Working Papers WP36, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  3. Rothstein, Paul, 1991. " Representative Voter Theorems," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 72(2-3), pages 193-212, December.
  4. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  5. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  6. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Marco Bassetto, 2002. "Equilibrium and government commitment," Working Papers 624, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Benhabib, J. & Rustichini, A., 1996. "Optimal Taxes Without Commitment," Working Papers 96-18, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Andrew Atkeson & V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Taxing capital income: a bad idea," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-17.
  11. Pollak, Robert A, 1971. "Additive Utility Functions and Linear Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(116), pages 401-14, October.
  12. Chamley, Christophe, 1985. "Efficient Taxation in a Stylized Model of Intertemporal General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 451-68, June.
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