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The Political Economy of Occupational Mobility and Redistribution Policy

  • Ryo Arawatari

    ()

    (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)

  • Tetsuo Ono

    ()

    (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)

In this study, we ask why countries with similar labor market characteristics experience different occupational mobility levels and redistribution policies. We develop a politico-economic model that integrates occupational mobility affected by individual educational investments with voting on redistribution policies. It is shown that a rigid labor market will tend to produce multiple equilibria: a poor-majority equilibrium with lower mobility and higher redistribution and a rich-majority equilibrium with higher mobility and lower redistribution. However, a flexible labor market will tend to produce a unique, poor-majority equilibrium with high mobility and low redistribution, which supports the POUM (prospect of upward mobility) hypothesis. Deregulation in the labor market enhances mobility but may degrade social welfare.

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Paper provided by Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP) in its series Discussion Papers in Economics and Business with number 08-18.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:0818
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.osaka-u.ac.jp/Email:


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  1. Benabou, R. & Ok, E.A., 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," Working Papers 98-23, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Hassler, John & Mora, Jose & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2002. "The Survival of the Welfare State," Seminar Papers 704, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1936, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
  5. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2008. "A Second Chance at Success: A Political Economy Perspective," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-04-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Jul 2008.
  6. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Hassler, John & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2003. "Democratic Public Good Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 4044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Jarvis, Sarah & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1998. "How Much Income Mobility Is There in Britain?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 428-43, March.
  9. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  10. 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.
  11. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
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