Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Revisiting the relationship between welfare spending and income inequality in OECD countries

d'Agostino, Giorgio and Pieroni, Luca and Procidano, Isabella (2016): Revisiting the relationship between welfare spending and income inequality in OECD countries.

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Abstract

The present paper estimates the effects of welfare interventions on income inequality. We propose a theoretical model showing that welfare policies follow the median voter constituency regardless of whether governments are center-left or center-right in the majority electoral system, whereas large differences exist between center-left and center- right coalitions in the proportional representation system. We exploit these differences in the mechanisms of welfare expenditure to estimate their elasticities on income inequality and find that a 1% increase in government spending reduces the Gini income index by half a percentage point. This result is robust under different compositions of expenditure, alternative imputation model specifications and falsification tests.

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