The Limits of Equality: Insights from the Israeli Kibbutz
What limits the capacity of society to redistribute and provide insurance? What determines the structure of compensation in organizations striving for income equality? This paper addresses these questions by investigating the economic and sociological forces underlying the persistence of the Israeli kibbutzim, communities based on the principle of income equality. To do this, I exploit newly-assembled data on kibbutzim, and a financial crisis in the late-1980s that affected them differentially. The main findings are that: (1) productive individuals are the most likely to exit, and a kibbutz’s wealth serves as a lock-in device that increases the value of staying; (2) higher wealth reduces exit and supports a high degree of income equality; (3) ideology contributes to income equality. Using a simple model, I show that these findings are consistent with a view of the kibbutz as providing optimal insurance without commitment to stay, namely when participation is at-will. More generally, these findings contribute to an understanding of how mobility limits redistribution, and to an understanding of the determinants of the sharing rule in other types of organizations, such as professional partnerships, cooperatives and labor-managed firms.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (650) 725-1874
Fax: (650) 723-8611
Web page: http://siepr.stanford.edu
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Feldstein, Martin & Wrobel, Marian Vaillant, 1998.
"Can state taxes redistribute income?,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 369-396, June.
- Ligon, Ethan & Thomas, Jonathan P & Worrall, Tim, 2002.
"Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 209-44, January.
- Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 209-244.
- Pedro Albarran & Orazio P. Attanasio, 2003. "Limited Commitment and Crowding out of Private Transfers: Evidence from a Randomised Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages C77-C85, March.
- Harris, Milton & Holstrom, Bengt, 1982.
"A Theory of Wage Dynamics,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 315-33, July.
- Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
- Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990.
"Peer Pressure and Partnerships,"
90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
- Coate, Stephen & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Reciprocity without commitment : Characterization and performance of informal insurance arrangements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, February.
- Crocker, Keith J & Moran, John R, 2003. " Contracting with Limited Commitment: Evidence from Employment-Based Health Insurance Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 694-718, Winter.
- Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972.
"Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
- Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Eli Berman, 2000.
"Sect, Subsidy, And Sacrifice: An Economist'S View Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953, August.
- Eli Berman, 1998. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," NBER Working Papers 6715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jonathan Levin & Steven Tadelis, 2005.
"Profit Sharing and the Role of Professional Partnerships,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 131-171, January.
- Steven Tadelis & Jonathan Levin, 2004. "Profit Sharing and the Role of Professional Partnerships," 2004 Meeting Papers 156, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Thomas N Hubbard & Luis Garicano, 2003.
"Specialization, Firms, and Markets: The Division of Labor Within and Between Law Firms,"
03-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Luis Garicano & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Specialization, Firms, and Markets: The Division of Labor Within and Between Law Firms," NBER Working Papers 9719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2000.
"The Role of Commitment in Dynamic Contracts: Evidence from Life Insurance,"
NBER Working Papers
7470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2003. "The Role Of Commitment In Dynamic Contracts: Evidence From Life Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 299-327, February.
- Ligon, Ethan, 1998. "Risk Sharing and Information in Village Economics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 847-64, October.
- Pencavel, John & Craig, Ben, 1994. "The Empirical Performance of Orthodox Models of the Firm: Conventional Firms and Worker Cooperatives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 718-44, August.
- Kevin Lang & Peter-John Gordon, 1995. "Partnerships as Insurance Devices: Theory and Evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 614-629, Winter.
- Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
- Gaynor, M. & Gertler, P., 1996.
"Moral hazard and Risk Speading in Partnerships,"
96-09, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-105, December.
- Michael Kremer, 1997. "Why are Worker Cooperatives So Rare?," NBER Working Papers 6118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-048. 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: (Anne Shor)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.