The Poverty of Politics: How Income Redistribution Hurts the Poor

The Atlantic Economic Journal, 2006

33 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2015

See all articles by J. R. Clark

J. R. Clark

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Gordon Tullock

University of Arizona; George Mason University - Department of Economics

Leon Levy

AT&T (Deceased)

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

In spite of the significant research literature identifying a tradeoff between income redistribution and economic growth, massive public programs have been implemented to help the poor by transferring income to them. Since Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty began in 1964, over 3.5 trillion dollars have been transferred. However, the possibility that everyone, including the poor, may in fact be made worse off by the transfer has largely been ignored. With a simple algebraic model, the authors demonstrate that, over time, both high and low-income groups are harmed by redistribution. In addition, social mobility, as well as political concerns with relative poverty and international income redistribution increases the damage to all income groups produced by redistribution.

Suggested Citation

Clark, Jeff R. and Tullock, Gordon and Levy, Leon, The Poverty of Politics: How Income Redistribution Hurts the Poor (March 2006). The Atlantic Economic Journal, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2572346

Jeff R. Clark (Contact Author)

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ( email )

Department of Economics
Suite 313 Fletcher Hall
Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598
United States

Gordon Tullock

University of Arizona ( email )

McClelland Hall
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-621-2460 (Phone)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Leon Levy

AT&T (Deceased)

379 Campus Drive
Somerset, NJ 08873
United States

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