We present a theory of the choice of alternative democratic constitutions, a majoritarian or a consensual one, in a n unequal society. A majoritarian democracy redistributes resources from the collectivity toward relatively few people, and has a relatively small government and low level of taxation. A consensual democracy redistributes resources toward a broader spectrum of social groups but also have a larger government and a higher level of taxation. A consensual system turns out to be preferred by the society when ex ante income inequality is relatively low, while a majoritarian system is chosen when income inequality is relatively high. Moreover, we obtain that consensual democracies should be expected to be ruled more often by center-left coalitions. Finally, our model also provides a new rationale, based on the endogeneity of the political system, of the positive or absent (rather than negative) association between equality and redistribution transpiring from the cross-sectional evidence of developed countries presented in some recent studies. Some historical and empirical evidence supporting our results is provided.
|Date of creation:||01 Nov 2003|
|Publication status:||Published in Economic Journal, 2010, pages 1-39.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden|
Web page: http://www.iies.su.se/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:iiessp:0726. 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: (Hanna Christiansson)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.