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Entangled political economy depicts taxation and government expenditure as an emergent process, formulated by legislators and bureaucrats together with special interests and citizens. Whilst taxing and spending attempts to realise various policy objectives, it is not guaranteed that such activities will ameliorate inequality. Policies may implicitly encourage an upward, pro-rich redistribution, rather than pro-poor redistribution widely deemed as the desirable political objective.
This chapter illustrates how certain expenditure and taxation policies potentially worsen inequality outcomes. Economic inequalities are exacerbated when fiscal policy measures effectively redistribute income and wealth in an upward direction, or constrain economic mobility. Fiscal policy also performs poorly to the extent that political agents impose taxes, and disburse payments, on a discriminatory basis.
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