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The Right Type of Legislator: A Theory of Taxation and Representation

Andrea Mattozzi () and Erik Snowberg

No 24279, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: We develop a theory of taxation and the distribution of government spending in a citizen-candidate model of legislatures. Individuals are heterogeneous in two dimensions: productive ability in the private sector and negotiating ability in politics. When these are positively correlated, rich voters always prefer a rich legislator, but poor voters face a trade-off. A rich legislator will secure more pork for the district, but will also prefer lower taxation than the poor voter. Our theory organizes a number of stylized facts across countries about taxation and redistribution, parties, and class representation in legislatures. We demonstrate that spending does not necessarily increase when the number of legislators increases, as the standard common-pool intuition suggests, and that many policies aimed at increasing descriptive representation may have the opposite effect.

JEL-codes: D72 D78 H10 H23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mic, nep-pbe, nep-pol and nep-pub
Date: 2018-02
Note: PE POL
References: Add references at CitEc
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Published as Andrea Mattozzi & Erik Snowberg, 2018. "The right type of legislator: A theory of taxation and representation," Journal of Public Economics, vol 159, pages 54-65.

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Working Paper: The Right Type of Legislator: A Theory of Taxation and Representation (2015) Downloads
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