Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/76223
Authors: 
Akkoyunlu, Sule
Neustadt, Ilja
Zweifel, Peter
Year of Publication: 
2009
Series/Report no.: 
Working Paper, Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich 0810
Abstract: 
In this paper, the amount of income redistribution in the United States, the European Union, and Switzerland is compared and empirically related to economic, political, and behavioral determinants elaborated in the literature. Lying in between the two poles, Switzerland provides unique evidence about the relative merits of competing hypotheses. It tips the balance against the economic explanation, which predicts more rather than less income redistribution in the United States compared to the EU. It only weakly supports the political model linking proportional representation and multiparty structure (which also characterize Switzerland) to redistribution; yet the Swiss share of transfers in the GDP is low. Behavioral explanations receive a good deal of support from the case of Switzerland, a country that shares with the United States the belief that hard work rather than luck, birth, connections, and corruption determine wealth. In this way, the Janus face of Switzerland may help to explain the difference in the amount of U.S. and EU income redistribution.
Subjects: 
Redistribution
Income Mobility
Openness
Political Economy
Beliefs
Religion
Immigration
JEL: 
D31
D63
D64
H53
I31
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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