295 research outputs found

    Labor-Managed Firms

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    Preferences For Redistribution and Perception of Fairness: An Experimental Study

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    Why is there significant political support for progressive taxation and equalizing government transfers in western democracies? Possibilities include individual socail preferences for a less unequal distribution than what market forces alone would dictate, demand for social insurance, or successful political coalitions to redistribute away from the rich. We study the relative importance of fairness preferences, risk aversion, and self-interest in determining support for redistribution through a set of experiments in which a large number of subjects are asked to choose what level of taxation to implement under different decision conditions and with four alternative determinants of pre-tax income (two task-based, one random, and one based on socio-economic background). Treatments using varying costs of redistribution to the decision-maker and efficiency losses to recipients are used to study willingness to pay for redistribution and concern for aggregate inefficiency. Most of our subjects prefer that there be less inequality among others and demand for redistribution responds in predictable ways to the cost of taxation and to the dead-weigh loss associated with it. The external validity of the experiment is supported by the high correlation between tax decisions and political preferences. We also find evidence that preferred levels of redistribution are highly responsive to whether pre-tax incomes are determined according to task performance, a trend that is much more evident among men than among woman. Comparisons between redistributive choices under different experimental conditinos provide interesting insights with regard to the relative importance of inequality aversion and self-interest when choosing under uncertainty and when uncertainty is resolved. In the first case, individuals expectation about their future position in the income distribution has a considerable impact on their tax choices. When sure of the effect on their own earnings, subjects tax choices are primarily goverened by self-interest, but fairness preferences continue to play a role.

    Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequity

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    We construct a matrix showing the share of the year 2000 population in every country that is descended from people in different source countries in the year 1500. Using this matrix, we analyze how post-1500 migration has influenced the level of GDP per capita and within-country income inequality in the world today. Indicators of early development such as early state history and the timing of transition to agriculture have much better predictive power for current GDP when one looks at the ancestors of the people who currently live in a country than when one considers the history on that country’s territory, without adjusting for migration. Measures of the ethnic or linguistic heterogeneity of a country’s current population do not predict income inequality as well as measures of the ethnic or linguistic heterogeneity of the current population’s ancestors. An even better predictor of current inequality in a country is the variance of early development history of the country’s inhabitants, with ethnic groups originating in regions having longer histories of agriculture and organized states tending to be at the upper end of a country’s income distribution. However, high within-country variance of early development also predicts higher income per capita, holding constant the average level of early development.Economic Growth; Migration; Income Inequality; State History; Linquistic Distance

    Early Starts, Reversals and Catchup in The Process of Economic Development

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    Early states like China, India, Italy and Greece have been experiencing more rapid economic growth in recent decades than have later-comers to agriculture and statehood like New Guinea, the Congo, and Uruguay. We show that more rapid growth by early starters has been the norm in economic history, and that the “reversal of fortune” associated with European overseas expansion from about 1500 to 1960 was an exception. We demonstrate that the colonial era reversal was in the process of being reversed in recent decades, and that this second reversal is in line with longer-term trends dating back to the first agricultural revolution.economic growth, economic development, economic history
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