Can Equity and Efficiency Complement Each Other?
Economists tend to assume that redistributive transfers increase equity but cause a loss in efficiency, the so-called 'leaky bucket' effect. This paper explores situations where efficiency losses are small or where equity and efficiency might even complement each other. A simple model identifies key parameters that cause leaky buckets and which policy can affect. Three situations are discussed where the equity/efficiency tradeoff may be low: When transfers go to populations with no capacity to change their behavior; when transfers go to programs that limit efficiency losses through behavioral requirements; and when commodities are subsidized that function as long-term investments and create future income gains.
Published: Blank, Rebecca M. "Can Equity And Efficiency Complement Each Other?" Labour Economics, September 2002, 9(4): 451-468