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Title: On the Political and Economic Determinants of Redistribution: Pecuniary Gains, Social Preferences, or Institutions?

AbstractWhat are the quantitatively relevant determinants of redistribution? I describe a structural method to identify different channels affecting the social choice of redistribution and estimate the counter-factual effect of institutional reforms. The method relies on a dynamic heterogeneous agents model estimated using micro-data on voting and on the support for redistribution. I found that pecuniary gains play a negligible role in shaping redistribution. Voters who could benefit from redistribution support and vote for low transfers motivated by social preferences and not pecuniary gains. Because social preferences are more important than income in predicting support for redistribution, increasing voter turnout or capping campaign contributions would have no effect on redistribution.