Working paper

Politically Sustainable Probabilistic Minority Targeting

Philippe De Donder, and Eugenio Peluso


We show that a transfer targeting a minority of the population is sustained by majority voting, however small the minority targeted, when the probability to receive the transfer is decreasing and concave in income. We apply our framework to the French social housing program and obtain that empirically observed departures from these assumptions are small enough that a majority of French voters should support a positive size of this program. We also provide a su¢ cient condition on this probability function under which more targeting results in a lower equilibrium size of the transfer system.


Paradox of redistribution; A program for the poor is a poor program; majority voting; social housing in France;

JEL codes

  • D72: Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
  • H53: Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
  • I38: Government Policy • Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


Philippe De Donder, and Eugenio Peluso, Politically Sustainable Probabilistic Minority Targeting, TSE Working Paper, n. 14-509, July 18, 2014.

See also

Published in

TSE Working Paper, n. 14-509, July 18, 2014