The Poverty of Politics: How Income Redistribution Hurts the Poor
The Atlantic Economic Journal, 2006
33 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 2006
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.
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