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Redistributive Public Employment

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  • Easterly, William
  • Baqir, Reza
  • Alesina, Alberto

Abstract

Politicians may use “disguised†redistributive policies in order to circumvent opposition to explicit tax-transfer schemes. First, we present a theoretical model that formalizes this hypothesis. Next, we provide evidence consistent with the prediction of the model, namely that in U.S. cities, politicians use public employment as such a redistributive device. We find that city employment is significantly higher in cities where income inequality and ethnic fragmentation are higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Easterly, William & Baqir, Reza & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Scholarly Articles 4553013, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4553013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Francisco Rodríguez, 2004. "Inequality, Redistribution, And Rent-Seeking," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16, pages 287-320, November.
    2. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    4. Albert Alesina & Stephan Danninger & Massimo Rostagno, 2001. "Redistribution Through Public Employment: The Case of Italy," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(3), pages 1-2.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    6. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    7. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1991. "Public Provision of Private Goods and the Redistribution of Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 979-984, September.
    8. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
    9. Massimo V. Rostagno & Francesca Utili, 1998. "The Italian Social Protection System; The Poverty of Welfare," IMF Working Papers 98/74, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-1235, December.
    11. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    12. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    13. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
    14. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1998. "Openness, country size and government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 305-321, September.
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