The Political Geography of Inequality

The Political Geography of Inequality : Regions and Redistribution

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This book addresses two questions - why some political systems have more centralized systems of interpersonal redistribution than others, and why some political unions make larger efforts to equalize resources among their constituent units than others. This book presents a new theory of the origin of fiscal structures in systems with several levels of government. The argument points to two major factors to account for the variation in redistribution: the interplay between economic geography and political representation on the one hand, and the scope of interregional economic externalities on the other. To test the empirical implications derived from the argument, the book relies on in-depth studies of the choice of fiscal structures in unions as diverse as the European Union, Canada and the United States in the aftermath of the Great Depression; Germany before and after Reunification; and Spain after the transition to democracy.
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"Across the world, federations and quasi-federations come in all shapes and sizes. Their welfare and redistributive consequences are also strikingly different. In this terrific, sophisticated, agenda-setting book, Pablo Beramendi explains why. The Political Geography of Inequality is a must-read." Carles Boix, Princeton University "By integrating the study of inequality with the study of federalism this ambitious book casts new light on both. The theoretical synthesis Beramendi proposes helps explain such diverse phenomena as why some countries and regions are better able to respond to economic shocks, why some countries can sustain higher levels of redistribution and equality, and why it is so difficult for currency unions like the Eurozone to succeed. The book is a remarkable achievement that will have a major impact on the field of comparative political economy for years to come." Torben Iversen, Harvard University "The design of fiscal unions is a topic of central importance not only in Europe but in all countries with some degree of local autonomy. In a methodologically sophisticated analysis, Beramendi destroys several stereotypes according to which local autonomy must be associated with a high degree of individual inequality. This is an eye-opening contribution." Adam Przeworski, New York University
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Table of contents

1. Regions and redistribution: introduction and overview; 2. A theory of fiscal structures in political unions; 3. The road ahead: the empirical strategy; 4. The European Union: economic geography and fiscal structures under centrifugal representation; 5. North America's divide: distributive tensions, risk sharing, and the centralization of public insurance in federations; 6. Germany's reunification: distributive tensions and fiscal structures under centripetal representation; 7. Endogenous decentralization and welfare resilience: Spain, 1978-2007; 8. The political geography of inequality: summary and implications.
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About Pablo Beramendi

Pablo Beramendi is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Duke University. His research focuses on the political economy of redistribution and inequality. Previously, he has taught at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and at the Department of Politics at the University of Oxford. He is also a research associate at the Juan March Institute (Madrid) and a former research Fellow at the Science Center (Berlin). Among his published work are articles on the determinants of taxation and inequality; the role of inequality in shaping electoral turnout; and the relationship between federalism, inequality, and redistribution.
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