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Social Mobility: The Barro-Becker Children Meet the Laitner-Loury Dynasties

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  • Fernando Alvarez

    (University of Chicago and Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)

Abstract

I compare the predictions of two types of dynastic models for the persistence of wealth across generations: models that focus on uninsurable risk and intergenerational consumption smoothing but abstract from the fertility decision, such as Loury [1981] and Laitner [1992], and models without risk that focus on the fertility decision, such as Becker and Barro [1988]. I show that when both uninsurable risk and fertility decisions are present, a striking result obtains: wealthier parents have more children, but the transfer to each child is independent of wealth. Since this result is counterfactual, I also discuss extensions that can resurrect persistence. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/redy.1998.0052
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 2 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 65-103

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:2:y:1999:i:1:p:65-103

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Related research

Keywords: fertility; intergenerational transfers; bequest; persistence; dynamic programming;

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References

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  1. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1986. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 151-72, April.
  3. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Population Growth and Human Capital Investments: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S38-70, October.
  4. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1986. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S1-39, July.
  5. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
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