PhD defence of Floris Zoutman on Friday 21 February 2014

On Friday 21 February 2014 Floris Zoutman will defend his PhD thesis entitled 'A Symphony of Redistributive Instruments'. Supervisor is Professor Bas Jacobs (Erasmus School of Economics). Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Professor Bauke Visser (Tinbergen Institute), Professor Robin Boadway (emeritus Queen's University), Professor Laurence Jacquet (Norwegian School of Economics).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam and will start at 13.30 hrs.

About Floris Zoutman

Floris Zoutman is currently employed as an assistant professor at the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen. This thesis concludes his PhD which he completed at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. During his PhD he has been a visiting scholar at CPB, Netherlands Bureau of Economic Policy Analysis. In addition, he was a visiting research student at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his bachelor and master degree in Economics from the University of Groningen. His research fields are public economics, political economics and financial economics.

Abstract of 'A Symphony of Redistributive Instruments'

This thesis studies how welfare states can decrease economic inequality between the rich and poor. Governments in developed countries use a wide range of tax and subsidy instruments designed to reduce the gap between the fortunate and less fortunate, but these instruments often play in a cacophony. Some tax rates are set too high, while others are too low, subsidies do not reach the intended beneficiaries, and instruments that could reduce the economic cost of redistribution are not used. As a result, many citizens in Western Democracies are getting increasingly dissatisfied with the inequality between rich and poor, and with the large cost associated with taxation and redistribution. In six chapters this thesis develops and applies economic models that analyze how governments can play their redistributive instruments optimally, and redistribute more income from rich to poor at lower economic cost. Clear policy prescriptions are provided for instruments such as the income tax and the tax on capital. These prescriptions can immediately be applied by economists and policy makers to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our current welfare state, and will help to turn the current cacophony into a symphony of redistributive instruments.

More information

Floris Zoutman conducted his doctoral research at the Tinbergen Institute. The Tinbergen Institute is a joint research institute of the Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of VU University Amsterdam.

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail:

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