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Inequality, Fiscal Capacity and the Political Regime: Lessons from the Post-Communist Transition

Author

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  • Christopher Gerry
  • Tomasz Mickiewicz

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Abstract

Using panel data for twenty-seven post-communist economies between 1987-2003, we examine the nexus of relationships between inequality, fiscal capacity (defined as the ability to raise taxes efficiently) and the political regime. Investigating the impact of political reform we find that full political freedom is associated with lower levels of income inequality. Under more oligarchic (authoritarian) regimes, the level of inequality is conditioned by the state???s fiscal capacity. Specifically, oligarchic regimes with more developed fiscal systems are able to defend the prevailing vested interests at a lower cost in terms of social injustice. This empirical finding is consistent with the model developed by Acemoglu (2006). We also find that transition countries undertaking early macroeconomic stabilisation now enjoy lower levels of inequality; we confirm that education fosters equality and the suggestion of Commander et al (1999) that larger countries are prone to higher levels of inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Gerry & Tomasz Mickiewicz, 2006. "Inequality, Fiscal Capacity and the Political Regime: Lessons from the Post-Communist Transition," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp831, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2006-831
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Artur Radziwill & Pawel Smietanka, 2009. "EU's Eastern Neighbours: Institutional Harmonisation and Potential Growth Bonus," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0386, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income inequality; democracy; oligarchy; fiscal capacity; economic reform; transition;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • P35 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Public Finance

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