Cover: A Suggestion on the Positive Theory of Redistribution.

A Suggestion on the Positive Theory of Redistribution.

Published 1970

by Joseph P. Newhouse

Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback7 pages $20.00

Addresses the question: Since economists hold that it is more efficient to redistribute income than goods and services, why is Congress so much likelier to pass laws redistributing in kind? Consensus is necessary for programs to be adopted--more than a simple majority, if the minority holds strong opposing views. It is easier to agree on needs for specific goods and services than for money; families cannot consume unlimited amounts of food, medical services, and other specific goods. Other reasons that have been advanced: The public desires to increase the poor's consumption of specific goods and fears that money grants might be spent on liquor rather than necessities. The bureaucracy favors redistribution in kind because it creates more jobs. (Reducing such jobs is one of Friedman's arguments for the negative income tax.) Redistributions in kind cause fewer distortions than cash grants. 7 pp. Bibliog. (MW)

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.