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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. Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 122247000000000306, www.najecon.org.
  3. 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.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," NBER Working Papers 8267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  6. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," Papers 08-15-2005a, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  7. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Alesina, Alberto & Angeletos, George-Marios, 2005. "Corruption, inequality, and fairness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1227-1244, October.
  9. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Schools, Skills, and Synapses," NBER Working Papers 14064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  11. Alberto Alesina & Guido Cozzi & Noemi Mantovan, 2012. "The Evolution of Ideology, Fairness and Redistribution," Working Papers 2012_05, Durham University Business School.
  12. 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.
  13. Karabarbounis, Loukas, 2010. "One dollar, one vote," MPRA Paper 25274, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
  15. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
  16. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  17. Rafael Di Tella & Juan Dubra, 2010. "A note on Fairness and Redistribution," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-059, Harvard Business School.
  18. Alberto F. Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Di Tella, Rafael & Alesina, Alberto & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," Scholarly Articles 4553007, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 755-776.
  21. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  22. 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.
  23. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
  24. 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.
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