EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Why Praise Inequality? Public Good Provision, Income Distribution and Social Welfare

Indraneel Dasgupta ()

No 3988, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We consider a two-person Cournot game of voluntary contributions to a public good with identical individual preferences, and examine equilibrium aggregate welfare under a separable, symmetric and concave social welfare function. Assuming the public good is pure, Itaya, de Meza and Myles (Econ. Letters, 57: 289-296; 1997) have shown that maximization of social welfare precludes income equality in this setting. We show that their case breaks down when the public good is impure: there exist individual preferences under which maximization of social welfare necessitates exact income equalization. Even if the public good is pure, any given, positive level of income inequality can be shown to be socially excessive by suitably specifying individual preferences. Thus, sans knowledge of individual preferences, one cannot reject the claim that a marginal redistribution from the rich to the poor will improve social welfare, regardless of how small inequality is in the status quo.

Keywords: public goods; voluntary provision; income distribution; inequality; social welfare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 D63 D74 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 8 pages
Date: 2009-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pbe and nep-pub
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4)

Downloads: (external link)
https://docs.iza.org/dp3988.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: Why Praise Inequality? Public Good Provision, Income Distribution and Social Welfare (2008) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3988

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Holger Hinte ().

 
Page updated 2024-04-07
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3988