IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9502.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Fairness and Redistribution: U.S. versus Europe

Author

Listed:
  • Alberto Alesina
  • George-Marios Angeletos

Abstract

Different beliefs about how fair social competition is and what determines income inequality, influence the redistributive policy chosen democratically in a society. But the composition of income in the first place depends on equilibrium tax policies. If a society believes that individual effort determines income, and that all have a right to enjoy the fruits of their effort, it will chose low redistribution and low taxes. In equilibrium effort will be high, the role of luck limited, market outcomes will be quite fair, and social beliefs will be self-fulfilled. If instead a society believes that luck, birth, connections and/or corruption determine wealth, it will tax a lot, thus distorting allocations and making these beliefs self-sustained as well. We show how this interaction between social beliefs and welfare policies may lead to multiple equilibria or multiple steady states. We argue that this model can contribute to explain US vis a vis continental European perceptions about income inequality and choices of redistributive policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2003. "Fairness and Redistribution: U.S. versus Europe," NBER Working Papers 9502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9502
    Note: EFG PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9502.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Peter Gottschalk & Enrico Spolaore, 2002. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 191-208.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2003. "Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-194, June.
    3. Angeletos, George-Marios & Kollintzas, Tryphon, 2000. "Rent Seeking/Corruption And Growth: A Simple Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 2464, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    5. Banerjee, A.V., 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," Working papers 97-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    6. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    7. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    8. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
    9. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, "undated". "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity - Evidence and Economic Applications," IEW - Working Papers 075, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    10. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    11. Checchi, Daniele & Ichino, Andrea & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "More equal but less mobile?: Education financing and intergenerational mobility in Italy and in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 351-393, December.
    12. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    13. Jean Tirole, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with applications to the persistence of corruption and to firm quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22.
    14. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 503-530.
    15. 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.
    16. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    17. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
    18. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin A & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "On Expectations and the Monetary Stakes in Ultimatum Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 25(3), pages 289-301.
    19. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    20. George-Marios Angeletos & Christian Hellwig & Alessandro Pavan, 2003. "Coordination and Policy Traps," NBER Working Papers 9767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Francesco Caselli & Nicola Gennaioli, 2013. "Dynastic Management," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 971-996, January.
    22. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status in Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188.
    23. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
    24. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1997. "A Theory of Misgovernance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1289-1332.
    25. Galasso, Vincenzo, 2003. "Redistribution and fairness: a note," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 885-892, November.
    26. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1993. "Why Is Rent-Seeking So Costly to Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 409-414, May.
    27. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. " Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(2), pages 295-307, June.
    28. Jeremy Clark, 1998. "Fairness in Public Good Provision: An Investigation of Preferences for Equality and Proportionality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 708-729, August.
    29. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't The US Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1933, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    30. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-187, June.
    31. 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 914-927, October.
    32. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    33. Fields, Gary S & Ok, Efe A, 1999. "Measuring Movement of Incomes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(264), pages 455-471, November.
    34. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't the US Have a European-Style Welfare System?," NBER Working Papers 8524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Senik, 2008. "Ambition and Jealousy: Income Interactions in the 'Old' Europe versus the 'New' Europe and the United States," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 495-513, August.
    2. Richard M. Bird & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2014. "Societal Institutions and Tax Effort in Developing Countries," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 301-351, May.
    3. Richard M. bird, 2003. "Taxation in Latin America: Reflections on Sustainability and the Balance between Equity and Efficiency," International Tax Program Papers 0306, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
    4. Audi, Marc & Ali, Amjad, 2016. "Exploring the Linkage between Corruption and Economic Development in Case of Selected Developing and Developed Nations," MPRA Paper 83542, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Richard M. Bird, 2008. "Tax Challenges Facing Developing Countries," Working Papers id:1618, eSocialSciences.
    8. Dew-Becker, Ian & Gordon, Robert J, 2008. "Controversies about the Rise in American Inequality: A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 6817, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. repec:pri:wwseco:dp226 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2009. "Why Doesn't Capitalism Flow to Poor Countries?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(1 (Spring), pages 285-332.
    11. Frederick Van der Ploeg, 2004. "The Welfare State, Redistribution and the Economy, Reciprocal Altruism, Consumer Rivalry and Second Best," CESifo Working Paper Series 1234, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2006. "Europe vs America: Institutional hysteresis in a simple normative model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2161-2186, December.
    13. Bjørnskov, Christian, 2004. "Legal Quality, Inequality, and Tolerance," Working Papers 04-9, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    14. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2003. "Inequality and Political Consensus," CEPR Discussion Papers 4159, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Fischer, Justina AV, 2009. "The Welfare Effects of Social Mobility: An Analysis for OECD countries," MPRA Paper 17070, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9502. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.