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

Paperback | November 10, 2005

byAlberto Alesina, Edward Glaeser

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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-taxincome, 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, whichinclude 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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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 ...

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-edito...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.59 inPublished:November 10, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199286108

ISBN - 13:9780199286102

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Redistribution in the United Sates and Europe: the data3. Economic explanations4. Political institutions and redistribution5. The origin of political institutions6. Race and redistribution7. The Ideology of Redistribution8. ConclusionsIndex

Editorial Reviews

`This probing of the forces behind 'American exceptionalism', as measured by a much smaller welfare state than in Europe, is immensely important. The authors take a multi-discipline approach and consider many factors, including narrowly economic variables, political institutions, racial andethnic diversity, the effects of wars, attitudes toward thepoor, and still others. Their findings are sometimes surprising and frequently provocative. This monograph willquickly become the foundation of further literature on a subject of enormous significance.'Gary S. Becker, Nobel Prize Laureate