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The Effect of Aspirations, Habits, and Social Security on the Distribution of Wealth

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Abstract

In this paper, we analyze how the introduction of habits and aspirations affects the distribution of wealth when individuals' labor productivity is subject to idiosyncratic shocks and bequests arise from a joy-of-giving motive. In the presence of either bequests or aspirations, labor income shocks are transmitted intergenerationally and this transmission, together with the contemporaneous income shocks, determines the stationary distribution of wealth. We show that the introduction of aspirations increases both the intragenerational variability of wealth and the corresponding degree of intergenerational mobility. The opposite result holds when habits are introduced. Finally, we discuss how aspirations and habits interact with the redistributive features of an unfunded social security system.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 761.08.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:761.08

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Keywords: Aspirations; Habits; Wealth Distribution; Social Security;

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  1. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995. "Saving and growth with habit formation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
  3. Andrew B. Abel, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching up with the Joneses," NBER Working Papers 3279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jordi Caballe & Luisa Fuster, 2003. "Pay-as-you-go Social Security and the Distribution of Altruistic Transfers," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 541-567, 07.
  5. Alonso-Carrera, Jaime & Caballe, Jordi & Raurich, Xavier, 2005. "Growth, habit formation, and catching-up with the Joneses," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1665-1691, August.
  6. de la Croix, David & Michel, Philippe, 1997. "Altruism and self-refrain," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1998010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Apr 1998.
  7. Croix, David de la & Michel, Philippe, 1999. "Optimal growth when tastes are inherited," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 519-537, February.
  8. Donald Cox & Serena Ng & Andreas Waldkirch, 2000. "Intergenerational Linkages in Consumption Behavior," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 482, Boston College Department of Economics.
  9. Christian Kleiber & Martin Sexauer & Klaus Waelde, 2006. "Bequests, Taxation and the Distribution of Wealth in a General Equilibrium Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 1723, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Josep Pijoan-Mas 2 & Antonia Díaz & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2001. "Habit Formation: Inplications For The Wealth Distribution," Economics Working Papers we015114, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  11. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2004. "Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 641.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  12. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  13. Carroll, Christopher D & Overland, Jody & Weil, David N, 1997. " Comparison Utility in a Growth Model," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 339-67, December.
  14. Abel, Andrew B., 1999. "Risk premia and term premia in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 3-33, February.
  15. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  16. Cass, David, 1972. "On capital overaccumulation in the aggregative, neoclassical model of economic growth: A complete characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 200-223, April.
  17. 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.
  18. de la Croix, David, 1996. "The dynamics of bequeathed tastes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 89-96, October.
  19. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballe & Xavier Raurich, 2001. "Consumption Externalities, Habit Formation, and Equilibrium Efficiency," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 499.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  20. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  21. de la Croix, David, 1996. "Economic development and convergence clubs: the role of inherited tastes and human capital," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1996024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Oct 1996.
  22. Abel, Andrew B, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1079-97, September.
  23. Mohamed Jellal & Francois-Charles Wolff, 2002. "Altruistic Bequests with Inherited Tastes," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business, and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 1(2), pages 95-113, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Ngo Van Long, 2009. "Envy And Inequality," Departmental Working Papers 2009-03, McGill University, Department of Economics.

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