Are the rich too rich to be expropriated? : Economic power and the feasibility of constitutional limits to redistribution

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1998
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Why is it that, in democracies, the poor do not expropriate the rich even though they outnumber them? In this paper we analyze the commonly held belief that the rich escape expropriation because they are economically powerful. We demonstrate that the economically powerful, i.e. the above-average income earners, are indeed in a position to bribe the small segment of the voters with incomes between the median and the mean to resist the temptation of supporting confiscatory taxation. This is true even if compensation payments in cash are politically unfeasible and therefore need to be made in terms of an evenly distributed private good; and it may even be true if only pure public goods are available to swing the middle class.

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ISO 690BREYER, Friedrich, Heinrich URSPRUNG, 1998. Are the rich too rich to be expropriated? : Economic power and the feasibility of constitutional limits to redistribution. In: Public Choice. 1998, 94(1-2), pp. 135-156. ISSN 0048-5829. eISSN 1573-7101. Available under: doi: 10.1023/A:1004932822295
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@article{Breyer1998expro-33345,
  year={1998},
  doi={10.1023/A:1004932822295},
  title={Are the rich too rich to be expropriated? : Economic power and the feasibility of constitutional limits to redistribution},
  url={http://www.jstor.org/stable/30024329},
  number={1-2},
  volume={94},
  issn={0048-5829},
  journal={Public Choice},
  pages={135--156},
  author={Breyer, Friedrich and Ursprung, Heinrich}
}
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