IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp4549.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Redistributive Politics and Market Efficiency: An Experimental Study

Author

Listed:
  • Großer, Jens

    (Florida State University)

  • Reuben, Ernesto

    (New York University, Abu Dhabi)

Abstract

We study the interaction between competitive markets that produce large but unequally distributed welfare gains and elections through which the poor majority can redistribute income away from the rich minority. In our simple laboratory democracy, subjects first earn their income by trading in a double auction market and thereafter vote on redistributive policies in two-candidate elections. In addition, in one of the treatments subjects can attempt to influence the candidates’ policy choices by transferring money to them. We observe very high levels of redistribution – even when transfers to candidates are possible – with little effect on market efficiency. Overall, the experimental results are explained by our equilibrium predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Großer, Jens & Reuben, Ernesto, 2009. "Redistributive Politics and Market Efficiency: An Experimental Study," IZA Discussion Papers 4549, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4549
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp4549.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Campante, Filipe R., 2011. "Redistribution in a model of voting and campaign contributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 646-656, August.
    3. Milanovic, Branko & Lindert, Peter & Williamson, Jeffrey, 2007. "Measuring Ancient Inequality," MPRA Paper 5388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    5. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2011. "Can real-effort investments inhibit the convergence of experimental markets?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 97-103, January.
    6. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    7. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    8. Ruben Durante & Louis Putterman & Joël Weele, 2014. "Preferences For Redistribution And Perception Of Fairness: An Experimental Study," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 1059-1086, August.
    9. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
    10. Balafoutas, Loukas & Kocher, Martin G. & Putterman, Louis & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Equality, equity and incentives: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 32-51.
    11. Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2011. "Are we taxing ourselves?: How deliberation and experience shape voting on taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 164-176, February.
    12. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    13. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    14. Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "One Dollar, One Vote," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 621-651, June.
    15. Jens Großer & Arthur Schram, 2010. "Public Opinion Polls, Voter Turnout, and Welfare: An Experimental Study," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 54(3), pages 700-717, July.
    16. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 2000. "Professionals and students in a lobbying experiment: Professional rules of conduct and subject surrogacy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 499-522, December.
    17. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    18. Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
    19. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 322-322.
    20. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
    21. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
    22. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
    23. Gjerstad, Steven & Dickhaut, John, 1998. "Price Formation in Double Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-29, January.
    24. repec:hrv:faseco:30747194 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-769, August.
    26. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
    27. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
    28. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
    29. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    30. Levine, David K. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2007. "The Paradox of Voter Participation? A Laboratory Study," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 143-158, February.
    31. Friedman, Daniel, 1991. "A simple testable model of double auction markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 47-70, January.
    32. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    33. Justin Esarey & Timothy C. Salmon & Charles Barrilleaux, 2012. "What Motivates Political Preferences? Self-Interest, Ideology, And Fairness In A Laboratory Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(3), pages 604-624, July.
    34. Jess Benhabib & Adam Przeworski, 2006. "The political economy of redistribution under democracy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 29(2), pages 271-290, October.
    35. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. "Social Conflict and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 125-142, March.
    36. Ruffle, Bradley J., 2005. "Tax and subsidy incidence equivalence theories: experimental evidence from competitive markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1519-1542, August.
    37. Alberto F. Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    38. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2001. "Ten Little Treasures of Game Theory and Ten Intuitive Contradictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1402-1422, December.
    39. Martin Dufwenberg & Paul Heidhues & Georg Kirchsteiger & Frank Riedel & Joel Sobel, 2011. "Other-Regarding Preferences in General Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 613-639.
    40. Tyran, Jean-Robert & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2006. "A little fairness may induce a lot of redistribution in democracy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 469-485, February.
    41. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    42. Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Testing the Mill hypothesis of fiscal illusion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 39-68, January.
    43. Frans Van Winden, 2001. "Emotional Hazard Exemplified by Taxation‐Induced Anger," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2‐3), pages 491-506, May.
    44. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel, 1996. "Price formation in double auction markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1307-1337, August.
    45. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-137, February.
    46. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-858, August.
    47. Ben Greiner, 2004. "The Online Recruitment System ORSEE 2.0 - A Guide for the Organization of Experiments in Economics," Working Paper Series in Economics 10, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
    48. Ben Greiner, 2004. "The Online Recruitment System ORSEE - A Guide for the Organization of Experiments in Economics," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-10, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    49. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    50. AfDB AfDB, . "AfDB Group Annual Report 2006," Annual Report, African Development Bank, number 62 edited by Koua Louis Kouakou.
    51. Jacob K. Goeree & Jingjing Zhang, 2012. "Inefficient markets," ECON - Working Papers 072, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    52. Glaeser, Edward & Scheinkman, Jose & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The injustice of inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 199-222, January.
    53. 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.
    54. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
    55. Edgar K. Browning, 2002. "The Case Against Income Redistribution," Public Finance Review, , vol. 30(6), pages 509-530, November.
    56. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. "Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-292, October.
    57. World Bank, 2007. "The World Bank Annual Report 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7534, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Gerber, Anke & Nicklisch, Andreas & Voigt, Stefan, 2019. "The role of ignorance in the emergence of redistribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 239-261.
    2. Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2014. "Discriminatory taxes are unpopular—Even when they are efficient and distributionally fair," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 463-476.
    3. Oskar Nupia, 2017. "Income Taxes, Political Accountability and Public Goods Provision," Documentos CEDE 015835, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    4. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2014. "Tax Incidence in the Presence of Tax Evasion," IZA Discussion Papers 8137, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Gürdal, Mehmet Y. & Torul, Orhan & Vostroknutov, Alexander, 2020. "Norm compliance, enforcement, and the survival of redistributive institutions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 313-326.
    6. Romain Espinosa & Bruno Deffains & Christian Thöni, 2020. "Debiasing preferences over redistribution: an experiment," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 55(4), pages 823-843, December.
    7. Dmitry Ryvkin & Anastasia Semykina, 2017. "An experimental study of democracy breakdown, income and inequality," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 420-447, June.
    8. Agranov, Marina & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2015. "Equilibrium tax rates and income redistribution: A laboratory study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 45-58.
    9. Tetteh-Baah, Samuel Kofi & Günther, Isabel, 2020. "The impact of gender and ethnic discrimination on redistribution and productivity," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224633, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Balafoutas, Loukas & Kocher, Martin G. & Putterman, Louis & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Equality, equity and incentives: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 32-51.
    11. Deffains, Bruno & Espinosa, Romain & Thöni, Christian, 2016. "Political self-serving bias and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 67-74.
    12. Sascha Baghestanian & Paul Gortner & Baptiste Massenot, 2017. "Compensation schemes, liquidity provision, and asset prices: an experimental analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 481-505, June.
    13. Fabio Galeotti & Reuben Kline & Raimondello Orsini, 2014. "When Foul Play Seems Fair: Dishonesty as a Response to Violations of Just Deserts," Post-Print halshs-02467507, HAL.
    14. Höchtl, Wolfgang & Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Inequality aversion and voting on redistribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1406-1421.
    15. Dmitry Ryvkin & Anastasia Semykina, 2015. "The chicken or the egg: An experimental study of democracy survival, income, and inequality," Working Papers wp2015_11_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    16. Tina Haussen, 2018. "Intra-Household Income Inequality and Preferences for Redistribution," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-004, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    17. Tina Haussen, 2019. "Intra-household income inequality and preferences for redistribution," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 499-530, June.
    18. Paetzel, Fabian & Lorenz, Jan & Tepe, Markus, 2018. "Transparency diminishes framing-effects in voting on redistribution: Some experimental evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 169-184.
    19. Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2011. "Are we taxing ourselves?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 164-176.
    20. Lefgren, Lars J. & Sims, David P. & Stoddard, Olga B., 2016. "Effort, luck, and voting for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 89-97.
    21. Christos Bilanakos, 2012. "Consumers’ Heterogeneity, Publicness of Goods and the Size of Public Sector," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 18-2012, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    22. Romain Espinosa & Bruno Deffains & Christian Thöni, 0. "Debiasing preferences over redistribution: an experiment," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 0, pages 1-21.
    23. Guenther, Isabel & Tetteh-Baah, Samuel Kofi, 2019. "The impact of discrimination on redistributive preferences and productivity: experimental evidence from the United States," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203652, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Cervellati, Matteo & Esteban, Joan & Kranich, Laurence, 2010. "Work values, endogenous sentiments redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 612-627, October.
    2. Christian Pfarr & Andreas Schmid & Morten Raun Mørkbak, 2018. "Modelling Heterogeneous Preferences for Income Redistribution–An Application of Continuous and Discrete Distributions," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(2), pages 270-294, June.
    3. Matteo Cervellati & Joan-Maria Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2010. "Work Values, Endogenous Sentiments and Redistribution," Working Papers 434, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    4. Balafoutas, Loukas & Kocher, Martin G. & Putterman, Louis & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Equality, equity and incentives: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 32-51.
    5. Höchtl, Wolfgang & Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Inequality aversion and voting on redistribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1406-1421.
    6. Corneo, Giacomo & Neher, Frank, 2015. "Democratic redistribution and rule of the majority," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 96-109.
    7. Pfarr Christian & Ulrich Volker, 2011. "Discrete-Choice-Experimente zur Ermittlung der Präferenzen für Umverteilung," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 62(3), pages 232-262, December.
    8. Alston, Lee J. & Melo, Marcus Andre & Mueller, Bernardo & Pereira, Carlos, 2013. "Changing social contracts: Beliefs and dissipative inclusion in Brazil," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 48-65.
    9. Gilles Le Garrec, 2011. "Redistribution and the cultural transmission of the taste for fairness," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-24, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    10. Fischbacher, Urs & Fong, Christina M. & Fehr, Ernst, 2009. "Fairness, errors and the power of competition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 527-545, October.
    11. Roth, Christopher & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2018. "Experienced inequality and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 251-262.
    12. Ilja Neustadt & Peter Zweifel, 2010. "Is the Welfare State Sustainable? Experimental Evidence on Citizens’ Preferences for Redistribution," SOI - Working Papers 1003, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    13. Tyran, Jean-Robert & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2006. "A little fairness may induce a lot of redistribution in democracy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 469-485, February.
    14. Klor, Esteban F. & Shayo, Moses, 2010. "Social identity and preferences over redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 269-278, April.
    15. Dhami, Sanjit & al-Nowaihi, Ali, 2010. "Redistributive policies with heterogeneous social preferences of voters," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 743-759, August.
    16. Le Garrec, Gilles, 2013. "Guilt aversion and redistributive politics: A moral intuitionist approach," Economics Discussion Papers 2013-53, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    17. Krawczyk, Michal, 2010. "A glimpse through the veil of ignorance: Equality of opportunity and support for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 131-141, February.
    18. Grimalday, Gianluca & Karz, Anirban & Proto, Eugenio, 2012. "Everyone Wants a Chance: Initial Positions and Fairness in Ultimatum Games," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 93, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    19. Klaus M. Schmidt & Martin Spann & Robert Zeithammer, 2015. "Pay What You Want as a Marketing Strategy in Monopolistic and Competitive Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(6), pages 1217-1236, June.
    20. Paetzel, Fabian & Sausgruber, Rupert & Traub, Stefan, 2014. "Social preferences and voting on reform: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 36-55.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    lobbying; redistribution; double auction; elections;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • D41 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Perfect Competition
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:iza:izadps:dp4549. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Holger Hinte (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    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.