The Political Economy of Redistribution Policy

26 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2016

See all articles by Luna Bellani

Luna Bellani

University of Konstanz

Heinrich W. Ursprung

University of Konstanz; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: November 23, 2016


We review the literature on the public choice approach to explaining redistribution policies. The focus is on policies that are pursued with the sole reason to redistribute initial endowments. Moreover, we restrict ourselves to redistribution in democracies. In democratic settings, generic redistribution games lack equilibria. Structure-inducing rules that give rise to realistic redistribution patterns may concern the underlying economic model, political institutions, and firmly established preferences, beliefs, and attitudes of the voters. We present the respective lines of argument in turn and then present the related empirical evidence.

Keywords: redistribution, political economy

JEL Classification: D310, D720, I380, P160

Suggested Citation

Bellani, Luna and Ursprung, Heinrich, The Political Economy of Redistribution Policy (November 23, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6189. Available at SSRN:

Luna Bellani

University of Konstanz ( email )

Fach D-144
Universit├Ątsstra├če 10
Konstanz, D-78457

Heinrich Ursprung (Contact Author)

University of Konstanz ( email )

Konstanz, D-78457
+49 7531 88 3713 (Phone)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679

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