Redistribution, Democratic Accountability, and the Quality of Government: Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe
The welfare state literature has largely ignored the impact of a country’s quality of government on its levels of redistribution. Using cross-sectional time-series analysis of twenty-one Central and Eastern European countries, this article shows that environments characterized by higher levels of corruption, rampant bureaucratic inefficiency and ineffective enforcement of the rule of law are associated with lower levels of redistribution. Poor government directly affects the supply side of the redistribution process by hindering countries’ ability to allocate funds to redistribution and deliver them to their beneficiaries. Contrary to existing demand-oriented perspectives, the proposed causal mechanism does not blame lower redistribution on the lack of public support for the welfare state. Rather, it focuses on the capacity of states to adopt and implement inequality-reducing policies. The results are robust to numerous extensions and model specifications.