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Inequality Aversion and the Optimal Composition of Government Expenditure

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  • John Creedy
  • Shuyun May Li
  • Solmaz Moslehi

Abstract

This paper examines the choice of government expenditure on public goods and transfer payments, in the form of a pension, in an overlapping generations model. Government expenditure is tax-financed on a pay-asyou- go basis. A utilitarian judge chooses expenditures to maximize a social welfare function. The nonlinear solution is found to involve the ratio of a welfare-weighted average income, which depends on the inequality aversion of the judge, to arithmetic mean income. An approximation for this ratio is found which produces explicit solutions for the optimal composition. The result is used to obtain an indication of ‘implicit’ inequality aversion for a range of countries.

Suggested Citation

  • John Creedy & Shuyun May Li & Solmaz Moslehi, 2009. "Inequality Aversion and the Optimal Composition of Government Expenditure," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1086, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1086
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    5. Xisco Oliver Rullán & Amedeo Spadaro, 2004. "Are Spanish governments really averse to inequality? a normative analysis using the 1999 Spanish tax reform," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 28(3), pages 551-566, September.
    6. Creedy, John & Moslehi, Solmaz, 2009. "Modelling the composition of government expenditure in democracies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 42-55, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Overlapping Generations; Composition of Government Expenditure; Utilitarian Social Welfare Function;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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