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The Evolution of Ideology, Fairness and Redistribution

  • Alberto F. Alesina
  • Guido Cozzi
  • Noemi Mantovan

Ideas about what is "fair" above and beyond the individual's position in the income ladder influence preferences for redistribution. We study the dynamic evolution of different economies in which redistributive policies, perceptions of fairness, inequality and growth are jointly determined. We show how including fairness explains various observed correlations between inequality, redistribution and growth. We also show how different beliefs about fairness can keep two otherwise identical countries in different development paths for a very long time.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15587.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Publication status: published as Alberto Alesina & Guido Cozzi & Noemi Mantovan, 2012. "The Evolution of Ideology, Fairness and Redistribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(565), pages 1244-1261, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15587
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Cozzi & Noemi Mantovan, 2009. "The evolution of ideology, fairness and redistribution," Working Papers 2009_29, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 151-72, April.
  4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  5. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  6. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  7. Heckman, James J., 2008. "Schools, Skills, and Synapses," IZA Discussion Papers 3515, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Alberto F. Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alesina, Alberto F & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2001. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000283, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  13. Alesina, Alberto & Angeletos, George-Marios, 2005. "Corruption, inequality, and fairness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1227-1244, October.
  14. Karabarbounis, Loukas, 2010. "One dollar, one vote," MPRA Paper 25274, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," NBER Working Papers 11208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1993. "A model of political equilibrium in a representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-209, June.
  18. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  19. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  20. 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.
  21. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2010. "A note on Fairness and Redistribution," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-059, Harvard Business School.
  22. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  23. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
  24. Zheng Song, 2012. "Persistent Ideology And The Determination Of Public Policy Over Time," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(1), pages 175-202, 02.
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