Public Choice

, Volume 151, Issue 3–4, pp 537–563 | Cite as

Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983–2004

Article

Abstract

A main activity of the state is to redistribute resources. Standard political economy models predict that a rise in inequality will lead to more redistribution. This paper shows that, for the UK in the period 1983–2004, a plausibly exogenous rise in income inequality has not been associated with increased redistribution. We explore this example of the ‘paradox of redistribution’ using attitudinal data. We show that standard political economy models of the individual demand for redistribution do have explanatory power, but that other attitudes and beliefs are also very important. Moreover, these attitudes and beliefs change quite quickly so are very important in explaining variation in the demand for redistribution.

Keywords

Taxation Inequality Redistribution 

JEL Classification

H20 D72 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International DevelopmentUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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