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Why Does a Government of the Rich Redistribute to the Poor?

Monday, February 13, 2017
  3:10–4:30 p.m.

Location: CHASS Interdisciplinary Bldg South 1109
  Parking Information

Category: Seminar


Research on unequal representation reveals that Democratic and
Republican lawmakers ignore the preferences of the poor, while
adhering disproportionately to those of the affluent. Yet despite lacking
representation, the poor continue to benefit from redistributive
anti-poverty programs. Why does government by the rich result in
benefits for the poor? We argue that one answer lies in the altruism of
affluent Americans. Using evidence from economic games, we show that
altruism leads many affluent Americans to support redistributive
economic policies and, in turn, support the Democratic party. By
demonstrating that affluent Democrats are motivated to help the poor,
even at a personal cost to themselves, we help to explain why the
Democratic party continues to support anti-poverty policies, leading the
government to fund them even in the face of unequal representation. As
these results suggest, unequal representation is not necessarily
inconsistent with a government that assists the poor.

Open to: General Public
Admission: Free
Sponsor: School of Public Policy

Contact Information:
School of Public Policy
(951) 827-5656