Yehuda Donde Humanities and Social Science
Testing the Limits of Equality
I am working in a field of public finance that aims to develop a model indicating the optimal level of redistributive taxation in a given community. Assuming that public preference to redistribute income is determined by some combination of self-interest and civic altruism, the model must take into account the community’s various social, behavioral, and economic attributes. Using surveys, I will be gathering data on the effects of social factors, such as group cohesion, and behavioral factors, such as aversion to risk, on the tax policy decisions of kibbutzim – a network of approximately 300 membership-based socialist communities in Israel. The recent shift of a number of these communities away from high levels of income redistribution provides an excellent opportunity to gain insights regarding the factors governing tax policies in cities and states around the world.