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Beliefs and Redistributive Politics under Incomplete Information

  • Gabrieli, Tommaso

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

The reason why the social contract is so different in two otherwise comparable societies like the United States and continental Western European countries represents a challenging question. Large empirical evidence shows that the difference in the political support for redistribution appears to reflect a difference in the social perceptions regarding the determinants of individual wealth and the underlying sources of income inequality. I present a model of beliefs and redistribution which explains this evidence through multiple politico-economic equilibria. Differently fromthe recent literaturewhich obtains multiple equilibria by modeling agents characterized by psychological biases, my model is based on standard assumptions. Multiple equilibria originate frommultiple optimal levels of information for the society. Multiple optimal levels of information exist because increasing the informativeness of an economy produces a trade-off between a decrease in adverse selection and an increase in moral hazard. The framework allows the analysis of various comparative statics in order to answer to policy questions.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp_821.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 821.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:821
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/
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  1. Angeletos, George-Marios & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," Scholarly Articles 4553009, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Laurence Kranich & Joan Esteban, 2002. "Redistributive Taxation with Endogenous Sentiments," Discussion Papers 02-12, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  3. Joan M. Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2002. "Redistributive Taxation with Endogenous Sentiments," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 529.02, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  4. 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 914-27, October.
  5. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 4952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 187-278.
  7. Matteo Cervellati & Joan Mª Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2005. "Redistributive Taxation with Endogenous Sentiments," Working Papers 254, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
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