The Political Economy of Redistribution under Democracy
We ask what redistributions of income and assets are feasible in a democracy, given the initial assets and their distribution. The question is motivated by the possibility that if redistribution is insufficient for the poor or excessive for the rich, they may turn against democracy. In turn, if no redistribution simultaneously satisfies the poor and the wealthy, democracy cannot be sustained. Hence, the corollary question concerns the conditions under which democracy is sustainable. Since decisions to save are endogenous, we solve explicitly for the current growth rates given any time path of future tax rates. We find that the optimal path of redistribution chosen by the median voter under the constraint of rebellion by the poor or the wealthy consists of redistributing as much as possible as soon as possible. However, this path is time inconsistent unless voters punish governments that deviate from their promises. Democracies survive in wealthy societies, with a lower average capital stock when they are more equal.
|Date of creation:||2004|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA|
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bertola, Giuseppe, 1993. "Factor Shares and Savings in Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1184-1198, December.
- William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997.
"Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
- Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
- Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1997. "Optimal Taxes without Commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 231-259, December.
- Helliwell, John F., 1994. "Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 225-248, April.
- John F. Helliwell, 1992. "Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. "Social Conflict and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 125-142, March.
- Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
- Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Chamley, Christophe, 1985. "Efficient Taxation in a Stylized Model of Intertemporal General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 451-468, June.
- Benhabib, Jess & Velasco, Andres, 1996. "On the optimal and best sustainable taxes in an open economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 135-154, January. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed004:58. 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: (Christian Zimmermann)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.