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Occupational Diversity and Endogenous Inequality

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  • Dilip Mookherjee

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Debraj Ray

    ()
    (New York University and Instituto de An´alisis Econ´omico (CSIC))

Abstract

A traditional view of markets is that they equalize wealth across individuals. A more recent literature suggests that markets are inherently disequalizing. A third viewpoint argues that initial history is crucial in determining whether inequalities persist or not. By constructing a theory of equilibrium investment allocation between human capital and financial assets in the presence of borrowing constraints, we address these views in a unified way. Two attributes of occupational diversity turn out to be central to our understanding: span, the range of training costs across occupations, and richness, the variety of different training costs contained within the span. The former is used to generate a necessary and sufficient condition for markets to be disequalizing, while the latter is shown to be directly connected to the question of history-dependence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2005-022.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2005-022

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References

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  1. Dan Bernhardt & Huw Lloyd-Ellis, 1993. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Working Papers 893, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "Equilibrium Income Inequality among Identical Agents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1047-64, October.
  3. Katz, Lawrence F & Murphy, Kevin M, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78, February.
  4. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & James Sefton & Martin Weale, 1998. "Simulating the transmission of wealth inequality via bequests," Working Paper 9811, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2001. "On the Rise and Fall of Class Societies," Discussion Papers 1326, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Luisa Fuster, 2000. "Capital Accumulation in an Economy with Dynasties and Uncertain Lifetimes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 650-674, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Persistent Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 369-393.
  9. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  10. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1998. "Endogenous Inequality," Discussion Papers 1238, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
  12. Piketty, Thomas, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 173-89, April.
  13. 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.
  14. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Is Equality Stable?," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-121, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  15. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  16. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  17. 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.
  18. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Guido Cozzi & Fabio Privileggi, 2009. "The fractal nature of inequality in a fast growing world: new version," Working Papers 2009_30, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  2. Andrea, Canidio, 2009. "The determinants of long-run inequality," MPRA Paper 25137, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Kim, Young Chul, 2009. "Lifetime Network Externality and the Dynamics of Group Inequality," MPRA Paper 18767, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2007. "The Long-run Determinants of Inequality: What Can We Learn from Top Income Data?," Working Paper Series 721, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 30 Apr 2008.
  5. Kim, Dong-Hyeon & Lin, Shu-Chin, 2011. "Nonlinearity in the financial development–income inequality nexus," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 310-325, September.

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