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The Composition of Government Expenditure in an Overlapping Generations Model

  • John Creedy
  • Shuyun May Li
  • Solmaz Moslehi

This paper examines the choice of government expenditure on public goods and transfer payments (in the form of pension) in an overlapping generations model, in which individuals live for two ‘periods’ and expenditure is financed on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis. The condition required for majority support of the social contract involved in the PAYG scheme is established and shown to be independent of tax rates and expenditure levels. The choice of expenditure composition can thus be made conditional on acceptance of the social contract. Two decision mechanisms regarding the choice of government expenditure are considered. The first is positive and involves majority voting and the second is normative and involves maximizing a social welfare function. In each case the ratio of the transfer payment to public goods expenditure depends, among other things, on the ratio of median to mean income. A reduction in the skewness of the income distribution is associated with a reduction in this ratio, at a decreasing rate.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1043.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1043
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
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Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au
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  1. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2007. "Modelling the Composition of Government Expenditure in Democracies," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1007, The University of Melbourne.
  2. Been-Lon Chen, 2006. "Economic growth with an optimal public spending composition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 123-136, January.
  3. Rainald Borck, 2007. "Voting, Inequality And Redistribution," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 90-109, 02.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Intergenerational Redistribution with Short-Lived Governments," NBER Working Papers 5447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Christian Ghiglino & Mich Tvede, 1999. "Optimal Policy in OG Models," Discussion Papers 99-23, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  6. Tridimas, George, 2001. " The Economics and Politics of the Structure of Public Expenditure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(3-4), pages 299-316, March.
  7. Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2005. "The dynamics of government," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1331-1358, October.
  8. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 2005. "Fiscal Policy and Endogenous Growth with Public Infrastructure," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0536, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  9. Bearse, P. & Glomm, G. & Jeneba, E., 1999. "Composition of Government Budget, Non-Single Peakedness and Majority Voting," Papers 9903, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
  10. Richard Disney, 2006. "Household Saving Rates and the Design of Public Pension Programmes: Cross–Country Evidence," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 198(1), pages 61-74, October.
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521806428 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Guido Tabellini & Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," UCLA Economics Working Papers 539, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2007. "The Optimal Composition of Government Expenditure," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1008, The University of Melbourne.
  14. Jo Thori Lind, 2005. "Why is there so little redistribution?," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 31, pages 111-125.
  15. Hassler, John & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2003. "Democratic Public Good Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 4044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Thomas S. McCaleb, 1985. "Public Choice Perspectives on the Flat Tax Follies," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 5(2), pages 613-628, Fall.
  17. Tridimas, George & Winer, Stanley L., 2005. "The political economy of government size," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 643-666, September.
  18. Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Per Krusell, 1999. "On the Size of U.S. Government: Political Economy in the Neoclassical Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1156-1181, December.
  19. Volker Grossmann, 2002. "Income Inequality, Voting Over the Size of Public Consumption, and Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 731, CESifo Group Munich.
  20. Hassler, John & Mora, José V Rodríguez & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2001. "The Survival of the Welfare State," CEPR Discussion Papers 2905, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Marina Azzimonti & Eva de Francisco & Per Krusell, 2006. "Median-voter Equilibria in the Neoclassical Growth Model under Aggregation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 587-606, December.
  22. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521894753 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Creedy, John & van de Ven, Justin, 2000. "Retirement Incomes: Private Savings versus Social Transfers," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 68(5), pages 539-51, September.
  24. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, J.Jorn, 2004. "Income distribution and tax structure: Empirical test of the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 805-826, August.
  25. 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 914-27, October.
  26. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521001151 is not listed on IDEAS
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