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Extra info for Public Expenditures, Taxes, and the Distribution of Income. The United States, 1950, 1961, 1970

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Expenditures by government affect the income distribution two ways: one is through the expenditures per se, and the other is through the output of goods and services associated with those expenditures. Expenditures are made to purchase goods and services, and obviously are income to the suppliers of those goods and services. A second kind of expenditure by government is cash transferred to households for which government receives no current direct goods and services in return. This money flow is not synonymous with the flow or distribution of the benefits of public outputs to households.

A single-year accounting period exaggerates the size of government redistribution by almost any definition of redistribution. The costs and benefits of many (perhaps all) public activities vary with a household's stage in the life cycle. They also vary with current income and other variables, but the life cycle is especially visible in the Social Security 14 case. 14 Of course there are other distributive issues associated with the Social Security system, such as any effect on the rate of aggregate income growth, private savings, interest rates, and so on.

Income was defined to be wages and salaries, pensions and other transfers, interest and dividends, rents and earnings from farming, 1 For extensive discussions of the problems with survey data on income, see National Bureau of Economic Research (1951), U . S . Bureau of the Budget (1966), U . S . Department of Labor Statistics (1971), and Cramer (1969, chap. 7). Empirical 32 2 Procedures unincorporated business, and professional practice. The first five income intervals were in $1000 increments up to $5000, and the last two intervals are $5000-$7500 and over $7500.

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