Social Justice Research

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 233–249

Share and share alike? Social constraints on income equalization

  • Wil Arts
  • Peter van Wijck

DOI: 10.1007/BF01048451

Cite this article as:
Arts, W. & van Wijck, P. Soc Just Res (1989) 3: 233. doi:10.1007/BF01048451


This paper investigates the relation between what citizens prefer and what the results of policy making in a representative democracy are. The viability of a potential explanation reconstructed from a combination of insights from welfare economics and explanatory sociology is considered. The results suggest that not only the market will fail as a coordination mechanism to bring about a collective good such as a preferred income distribution in a nation state, but that income policy in a representative democracy tends to give rise to certain discrepancies between preferences and policy results as well. Voter's preferences will be distorted in the formulation of policy by politicians and in the implementation of policy by bureaucrats.

Key words

distributive justiceincome policypublic choicewelfare economicsexplanatory sociology

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wil Arts
    • 1
  • Peter van Wijck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economic Sociology and Psychology, Tinbergen InstituteErasmus University, RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands