While economic and redistributive policies can be welfare enhancing in an environment characterized by market failures and inequality, they frequently generate private gains to those who hold public office. In a setting with dispersed information about the policies' true motives we ask how self-interested governments who fret over their perceived integrity (reputation) balance legitimate needs for government action with the temptations of rent-seeking. Compared to the previous literature our model generates a richer trade-off structure between redistribution and efficiency. We find that governments use transfers strategically to conceal inefficient policy choices and excessive office rents. Our model also offers novel economic insights into the role of information frictions in shaping the governments' political accountability.
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- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994.
"Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
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