A Theory of Non-Democratic Redistribution and Public Good Provision

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This paper proposes a new theoretical definition of (non-)democracy based on two "political rights" parameters (η , κ) that capture the extensive and intensive margin of the population's ability to replace the incumbent; and an "individual rights" parameter λ that captures the degree to which individual citizens are protected from political retribution. Within the rules of the game specified by (η , κ ), two office-motivated politicians compete for power by making promises to citizens. The policy space features a trade-off between redistribution and public good provision. I study two types of public good: one that delivers egalitarian benefits, the other that delivers non-egalitarian benefits. I find that when political rights are stronger, and/or individual rights are weaker, competition drives politicians to treat citizens more equally, and to provide the egalitarian public good more efficiently. Regimes where political and individual rights are perfectly protected give politicians incentives to treat citizens inequitably for political advantage; these regimes provide the non-egalitarian public goods efficiently.


Type of resource text
Date created July 22, 2021


Author Persico, Nicola
Organizer of meeting Acharya, Avidit
Organizer of meeting Callander, Steve
Organizer of meeting Eraslan, Hülya
Organizer of meeting Foarta, Dana
Organizer of meeting Palfrey, Thomas


Subject economics
Genre Text
Genre Working paper
Genre Grey literature

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Persico, N. (2022). A Theory of Non-Democratic Redistribution and Public Good Provision. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at https://purl.stanford.edu/cf699yb7349


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