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Modelling the Composition of Government Expenditure in Democracies

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  • John Creedy
  • Solmaz Moslehi

Abstract

This paper considers whether the ratio of transfer payments to expenditure on public goods in democracies can be explained as the outcome of majority voting. A simple model is constructed in which individuals vote for government expenditure on a public good, for a given income tax rate. The transfer payment is then determined by the government’s budget constraint. The equilibrium ratio of transfers to public good expenditure per person is expressed as a quadratic function both of the ratio of the median to the mean wage, and of the tax rate. Data for 29 democratic countries are used to estimate a cross-sectional regression. The empirical results confirm that reductions in the skewness of the wage rate distribution are associated with reductions in transfer payments relative to public goods expenditure, at a decreasing rate. Furthermore, increases in the tax rate, from relatively low levels, are associated with increases in the relative importance of transfer payments. But beyond a certain level, further tax rate increases are associated with a lower ratio of transfers to public goods.

Suggested Citation

  • John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2007. "Modelling the Composition of Government Expenditure in Democracies," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1007, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1007
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    Cited by:

    1. Creedy, John & Gemmell, Norman & Scobie, Grant, 2015. "Pensions, savings and housing: A life-cycle framework with policy simulations," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 346-357.
    2. Creedy, John & Li, Shuyun May & Moslehi, Solmaz, 2010. "Inequality Aversion And The Optimal Composition Of Government Expenditure," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(S2), pages 290-306, November.
    3. Tetsuo Ono, 2016. "Inequality and the politics of redistribution," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(2), pages 191-217, April.
    4. Momi Dahan & Michel Strawczynski, 2010. "Fiscal Rules and Composition Bias in OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 3088, CESifo.
    5. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2015. "Redistributive Politics And Government Debt In A Borrowing-Constrained Economy," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 83-103, January.
    6. Tetsuo Ono, 2015. "Public education and social security: a political economy approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, February.
    7. John Creedy & Shuyun May Li & Solmaz Moslehi, 2008. "The Composition of Government Expenditure in an Overlapping Generations Model," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1043, The University of Melbourne.
    8. Milanovic, Branko, 2010. "Four critiques of the redistribution hypothesis: An assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 147-154, March.
    9. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2014. "The composition of government expenditure with alternative choicemechanisms," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(1), pages 53-71, April.
    10. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2010. "The Optimal Division Of Government Expenditure Between Public Goods And Transfer Payments," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 87-100, June.
    11. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2007. "The Optimal Composition of Government Expenditure," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1008, The University of Melbourne.
    12. Tetsuo Ono, 2014. "Economic Growth and the Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 14-17, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    13. John Creedy & Solamz Moslehi, 2010. "The optimal composition of government expenditure among transfers, education and public goods," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 194(3), pages 41-64, June.
    14. Agnese Sacchi & Simone Salotti, 2016. "A Comprehensive Analysis of Expenditure Decentralization and of the Composition of Local Public Spending," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(1), pages 93-109, January.
    15. Tetsuo Ono, 2016. "Inequality and the politics of redistribution," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(2), pages 191-217, April.
    16. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2008. "Voting over Taxes and Expenditure: The Role of Home Production," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1052, The University of Melbourne.
    17. Tetsuo Ono, 2012. "Inequality Dynamics and the Politics of Redistribution," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 12-09-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
    18. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2010. "The Role of Home Production in Voting Over Taxes and Expenditure," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 13(1), pages 81-97.

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