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The Distribution of Wealth with Imperfect Altruism

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  • Dutta, Jayasri
  • Michel, Philippe

Abstract

In this paper, we study the distribution of wealth in an economy with infinitely lived families. Individual generations of each family may or may not be altruistic. This is represented as a preference shock which follows a first-order Markov process within each family, a feature representing imperfect altruism. Altruistic individuals care about the welfare of their children and are likely to leave bequests; selfish ones do not. This results in a non-trivial distribution of wealth among families at any point in time. We study an economy with a risk-free, linear production technology and show that a stationary distribution of wealth exists. This distribution is discrete and approximates the pareto distribution under additional restrictions. We also charac- terize conditions on the production technology which yields perpetual growth with increasing inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 82 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 379-404

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:82:y:1998:i:2:p:379-404

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  2. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Andrew B. Abel & B. Douglas Bernheim, 1992. "Fiscal Policy With Impure Intergenerational Altruism," NBER Working Papers 2613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
  5. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1987. "Equilibrium existence in an overlapping generations model with altruistic preferences," Working Papers 356, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  7. Mirman, Leonard J. & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1975. "On optimal growth under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 329-339, December.
  8. Laitner, John, 1993. "Long-run equilibria with borrowing constraints and altruism," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 65-96.
  9. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  10. Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
  11. Benveniste, L M & Scheinkman, J A, 1979. "On the Differentiability of the Value Function in Dynamic Models of Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 727-32, May.
  12. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  13. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin S & Peled, Dan, 1985. "The Distribution of Wealth and Welfare in the Presence of Incomplete Annuity Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 789-806, August.
  14. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  15. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E, 1990. "A Convex Model of Equilibrium Growth: Theory and Policy Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1008-38, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jordi Caballé & Luisa Fuster, 2000. "Pay-as-you-go social security and the distribution of bequests," Economics Working Papers 468, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Duran, Jorge, 2000. "Discounting Long Run Average Growth in Stochastic Dynamic Programs," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2000006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Stark, Oded & Falk, Ita, 2001. "Dynasties And Destiny: On The Roles Of Altruism And Impatience In The Evolution Of Consumption And Bequests," Discussion Papers 18749, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  4. Degan, Arianna & Thibault, Emmanuel, 2012. "Dynastic Accumulation of Wealth," IDEI Working Papers 733, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Degan, Arianna & Thibault, Emmanuel, 2012. "Dynastic Accumulation of Wealth," TSE Working Papers 12-325, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  6. Michel, Philippe & Thibault, Emmanuel & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2006. "Intergenerational altruism and neoclassical growth models," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  7. Richard Barnett & Joydeep Bhattacharya & Helle Bunzel, 2013. "Deviant generations, Ricardian equivalence, and growth cycles," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 367-396, January.
  8. Higashi, Youichiro & Hyogo, Kazuya & Takeoka, Norio, 2009. "Subjective random discounting and intertemporal choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1015-1053, May.
  9. MoonJoong Tcha & Fiona Lio, 2002. "An Analysis of Food Aid and Altruism," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 02-19, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.

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