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The Political Economy of Occupational Mobility and Redistribution Policy

Author

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  • Ryo Arawatari

    () (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)

  • Tetsuo Ono

    () (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2008. "The Political Economy of Occupational Mobility and Redistribution Policy," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-18, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  • Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:0818
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    2. 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.
    3. John Hassler & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2003. "The Survival of the Welfare State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 87-112, March.
    4. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
    5. 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.
    6. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
    7. Hassler, John & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2007. "Democratic public good provision," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 127-151, March.
    8. Arawatari, Ryo & Ono, Tetsuo, 2009. "A second chance at success: A political economy perspective," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1249-1277, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Jarvis, Sarah & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1998. "How Much Income Mobility Is There in Britain?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 428-443, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arawatari, Ryo & Ono, Tetsuo, 2013. "Inequality, mobility and redistributive politics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 353-375.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Occupational mobility; Political economy; Stationary Markov perfect equilibrium; Redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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