Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A World of Difference

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OUP Oxford, 2004 - Business & Economics - 250 pages
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As events highlight deep divisions in attitudes between America and Europe, this is a very timely study of different approaches to the problems of domestic inequality and poverty. Based on careful and systematic analysis of national data, the authors describe just how much the two continents differ in their level of State engagement in the redistribution of income. Discussing various possible economic explanations for the difference, they cover different levels of pre-tax income, openness, and social mobility; they survey politico-historical differences such as the varying physical size of nations, their electoral and legal systems, and the character of their political parties, as well as their experiences of war; and they examine sociological explanations, which include different attitudes to the poor and notions of social responsibility. Most importantly, they address attitudes to race, calculating that attitudes to race explain half the observed difference in levels of public redistribution of income. This important and provocative analysis will captivate academic and serious lay readers in economics and welfare systems.

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1 Introduction
The Data
3 Economic Explanations
4 Political Institutions and Redistribution
5 The Origin of Political Institutions
6 Race and Redistribution
7 The Ideology of Redistribution
8 Conclusions

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About the author (2004)

Alberto Alesina is Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy and currently Chairman of the Department of Economics at Harvard University, and has been Visiting Professor at IGIER-Bocconi and MIT. He is a Research Associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research and for the Centre for Economic Policy Research. He is Co-editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and in addition to his many books and papers he has published columns in the FinancialTimes, the Wall Street Journal Europe, Le Monde, Il Sole 24 Ore, La Stampa, Frankfurter Zeitung, and Handelsblatt, and many other newspapers nationwide. Edward L. Glaeser is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He teaches urban and social economics andmicroeconomic theory, and has published dozens of papers on cities, economic growth, and law and economics. He is a Faculty Research Fellow for the National Bureau of Economic Research, and has also been a consultant for numerous international international institutions.