IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic Limits on "Rational" Democratic Redistribution


  • Casey B. Mulligan


I begin with an economic environment familiar from welfare-and political-economic literatures and show how, with quantitatively reasonable distributions of labor productivity and tax-price-elasticities of taxable income, middle class consumers are (personally) worse off with any negative income tax scheme than they would be with no redistribution at all. This finding has important implications for political-economic theories of redistribution, because it implies that the fully informed median voter cannot be expected to support programs of cash redistribution from rich to poor - such as the negative income tax - merely on the basis of his personal benefits from the program. It also implies that the "rational" median voter model of redistribution is, in the empirically relevant range, inconsistent with a positive correlation between income distribution skewness, or enfranchisement of the poor, and the amount of rich-poor redistribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Casey B. Mulligan, 2001. "Economic Limits on "Rational" Democratic Redistribution," Working Papers 0107, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0107

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    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:har:wpaper:0107. 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: (Eleanor Cartelli). General contact details of provider: .

    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.