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Income Distribution Determinants and Public Spending Efficiency

  • António Afonso
  • Ludger Schknecht
  • Vito Tanzi

In this paper we examine the impact of public spending, education, and institutions on income distribution in advanced economies. We also assess the efficiency of public spending in redistributing income by using a DEA (Data Envelopment Analysis) nonparametric approach. We find that public policies significantly affect income distribution, notably via social spending, and indirectly via high quality education/human capital and via sound economic institutions. Moreover, for our set of OECD countries, and within a two-step approach, several so-called non-discretionary factors help explaining public social spending inefficiencies.

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Paper provided by ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon in its series Working Papers Department of Economics with number 2008/05.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp52008
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, University of Lisbon, Rua do Quelhas 6, 1200-781 LISBON, PORTUGAL
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  1. António Afonso & Miguel St. Aubyn, 2005. "Non-parametric approaches to education and health efficiency in OECD countries," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 227-246, November.
  2. António Afonso & Miguel St. Aubyn, 2005. "Cross-country Efficiency of Secondary Education Provision: a Semi-parametric Analysis with Nondiscretionary Inputs," Working Papers Department of Economics 2005/05, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  3. António Afonso & Vítor Gaspar, 2007. "Dupuit, Pigou and cost of inefficiency in public services provision," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 485-502, September.
  4. Afonso, António & Schuknecht, Ludger & Tanzi, Vito, 2003. "Public sector efficiency: an international comparison," Working Paper Series 0242, European Central Bank.
  5. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  6. Afonso, António & Schuknecht, Ludger & Tanzi, Vito, 2006. "Public sector efficiency: evidence for new EU member states and emerging markets," Working Paper Series 0581, European Central Bank.
  7. Fogel, Robert William, 2000. "The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226256627.
  8. Dyson, R. G. & Allen, R. & Camanho, A. S. & Podinovski, V. V. & Sarrico, C. S. & Shale, E. A., 2001. "Pitfalls and protocols in DEA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(2), pages 245-259, July.
  9. Ales Bulir & Anne Marie Gulde, 1995. "Inflation and Income Distribution: Further Evidenceon Empirical Links," IMF Working Papers 95/86, International Monetary Fund.
  10. António Afonso & Miguel St. Aubyn, 2006. "Relative Efficiency of Health Provision: a DEA Approach with Non-discretionary Inputs," Working Papers Department of Economics 2006/33, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  11. Fakin, Barbara & de Crombrugghe, Alain, 1997. "Field adjustments in transition economies : social transfers and the efficiency of public spending - a comparison with OECD countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1803, The World Bank.
  12. De Borger, Bruno & Kerstens, Kristiaan, 1996. "Cost efficiency of Belgian local governments: A comparative analysis of FDH, DEA, and econometric approaches," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 145-170, April.
  13. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
  14. Isabelle Joumard & Per Mathis Kongsrud & Young-Sook Nam & Robert W.R. Price, 2004. "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Public Spending: Experience in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 380, OECD Publishing.
  15. Tanzi,Vito & Schuknecht,Ludger, 2000. "Public Spending in the 20th Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521662918.
  16. Hongyi Li & Danyang Xie & Heng-Fu Zou, 2000. "Dynamics of income distribution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 937-961, November.
  17. Thomas Harjes, 2007. "Globalization and Income Inequality: A European Perspective," IMF Working Papers 07/169, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Gupta, Sanjeev & Verhoeven, Marijn, 2001. "The efficiency of government expenditure: experiences from Africa," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 433-467, May.
  19. Atkinson, A B, 1997. "Bringing Income Distribution in from the Cold," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 297-321, March.
  20. A. B. Atkinson & A. Brandolini, 2009. "On data: a case study of the evolution of income inequality across time and across countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 381-404, May.
  21. Ruggiero, John, 2004. "Performance evaluation when non-discretionary factors correlate with technical efficiency," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 159(1), pages 250-257, November.
  22. Amparo Castelló-Climent, 2010. "Inequality and growth in advanced economies: an empirical investigation," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 293-321, September.
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