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The political economy of growth and distribution: A theoretical critique

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  • Josten, Stefan Dietrich
  • Truger, Achim

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the political economy approach to growth and distribution according to which (1) rising inequality induces more government redistribution; (2) more government redistribution is financed by higher distortionary taxation; and (3) higher distortionary taxes reduce economic growth. We present a variety of theoretical arguments demonstrating that all three propositions may be overturned by simply changing an assumption in a plausible way or adding a relevant real-world element to the basal models. The political economy models of growth and distribution, as well as the specific inequality-growth transmission channel they propose, must therefore be assessed as overly simplistic and inadequate with respect to the issues studied.

Suggested Citation

  • Josten, Stefan Dietrich & Truger, Achim, 2003. "The political economy of growth and distribution: A theoretical critique," WSI Working Papers 111, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wsidps:111
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eckhard Hein & Torsten Niechoj, 2005. "Leitlinien für ein dauerhaftes Wachstum in der EU? Konzept und Wirkung der "Grundzüge der Wirtschaftspolitik"," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 31(1), pages 11-40.
    2. Seifert, Hartmut & Tangian, Andranik, 2007. "Flexicurity: Reconciling Social Security with Flexibility - Empirical Findings for Europe," WSI Working Papers 154, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    3. Tangian, Andranik, 2012. "Statistical test for the mathematical theory of democracy," WSI Working Papers 179, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    4. Tangian, Andranik & Seifert, Hartmut, 2006. "Globalization and deregulation : Does flexicurity protect atypically employed?," WSI Working Papers 143, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    5. Tangian, Andranik, 2007. "Flexibility-Flexicurity-Flexinsurance: Response to the European Commission's Green Paper "Modernising Labour Law to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century"," WSI Working Papers 149, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    6. Tangian, Andranik, 2008. "On the European readiness for flexicurity: Empirical evidence with OECD/HBS methodologies and reform proposals," WSI Working Papers 160, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Economy; Redistribution; Inequality; Economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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