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The political-economy of conflicts over wealth: why don't the rabble expropriate the rich?


Coram, A, The political-economy of conflicts over wealth: why don't the rabble expropriate the rich?, Public Choice, 136, (3-4) pp. 315-330. ISSN 0048-5829 (2008) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11127-008-9298-6


The most striking feature of liberal democracies is the coexistence of large inequalities of wealth with a roughly egalitarian distribution of voting power. So far most attempts to explain this have asked ‘why don’t the poor form a coalition to expropriate the rich?’ This paper argues that this is not necessarily the best way to interpret the problem and attempts to provide an alternative unified political-economic model that is more consistent with standard assumptions about voting. This is done by studying what would happen if every possible coalition could form in a wealth distribution game. Among the main findings is that, if the marginal contribution of every individual to production is increasing sufficiently, there is a stable distribution of the product. This may include the egalitarian distribution. If individuals are not so valuable there is no stable distribution.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:political-economy, distribution, voting, cooperative game theory, core
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Political science not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Economic Framework
Objective Group:Macroeconomics
Objective Field:Income distribution
UTAS Author:Coram, A (Professor Alex Coram)
ID Code:56025
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2009-03-22
Last Modified:2012-11-28

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