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Wealth Distribution, Moral Hazard, and Entrepreneurship


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  • Sanjay Banerji
  • Ngo Van Long



This paper examines the endogenous determination of the choice between an entrepreneur and a pure lender. The model relies on three key factors: risk aversion, wealth distribution, and moral hazard. We show that, under certain assumptions, only agents in the middle range of the wealth distribution choose to be entrepreneurs, while very wealthy agents (i.e., those at the high end of the wealth distribution) and agents at the low end of the wealth distribution find it optimal to be lenders, and avoid being entrepreneurs. Only entrepreneurs invest in risky projects, and they borrow topartially finance their investments. Thus, two countries with the same population size and the same per capita wealth may behave differently from each other, even when individuals have identical preferences (i.e., identical utility functions), because of the difference in the distribution of wealth. We also demonstrate how changes in the wealth distribution (while keeping the mean level of wealth constant) within a given country can lead to a switch in its international net indebtness position: a debtor country can become a creditor country. On étudie la détermination endogène du choix de devenir entrepreneur. Les éléments importants du modèle sont le risque moral, l'aversion au risque, et la distribution des richesses. On démontre que, sous certaines hypothèses, seuls deviennent entrepreneurs les individus qui ne sont ni puissamment riches, ni pauvres. Ils investissent dans des projets aux rendements incertains, en empruntant de l'argent auprès de gens plus pauvres ou plus riches qu'eux-mêmes. Le taux d'intérêt en équilibre dépend de la fonction de distribution des richesses. Par conséquent, les pays ayant le même niveau de richesse moyenne peuvent être très différents les uns des autres.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2000s-01.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2000s-01

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Keywords: Wealth distribution; moral hazard; imperfect capital market; entrepreneurship; Distribution des richesses; risque moral; marché financier imparfait; entrepreneurship;

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  1. Gertler, Mark & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "North-South lending and endogenous domestic capital market inefficiencies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 245-266, October.
  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. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  4. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  5. de Meza, David & Webb, David, 1999. "Wealth, Enterprise and Credit Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 153-63, April.
  6. Marcel Dagenais & Claude Montmarquette & Daniel Parent & Nathalie Viennot-Briot, 1999. "Travail pendant les études, performance scolaire et abandon," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-41, CIRANO.
  7. Marcel Boyer, 1999. "Les Expos, l'OSM, les universités, les hôpitaux : Le coût d'un déficit de 400 000 emplois au Québec = Expos, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Universities, Hospitals: The Cost of a 400,000-Job Shortf," CIRANO Papers 99c-01, CIRANO.
  8. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Ngo Van Long & Koji Shimomura, 2000. "Semi-Stationary Equilibrium in Leader-Follower Games," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-08, CIRANO.
  2. Claudia Keser, 2000. "Cooperation in Public Goods Experiments (followed by a comment by Claude Montmarquette)," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-04, CIRANO.
  3. Richard Cornes & Ngo Van Long & Koji Shimomura, 2000. "Strategic Behavior under Intertemporal Production Externalities," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-07, CIRANO.


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