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Wealth Inequality and Credit Markets: Evidence from Three Industrialized Countries

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  • Brückner, Markus
  • Gerling, Kerstin
  • Grüner, Hans Peter

Abstract

Capital market theory predicts that the wealth distribution of an economy affects real interest rates. This paper empirically analyzes this relationship for the US, the UK and Sweden. We obtain that measures of wealth inequality are positively linked to the real rate on government securities in all three countries. This result is consistent with predictions from capital market equilibrium models with moral hazard such as Aghion and Bolton (1997) or Piketty (1997). Accordingly, rich individuals can only credibly commit to providing effort if the rate of return is not too high. When the rich are poorer, the rate of return has to be lower in order to guarantee entrepreneurial effort. Capital demand will therefore fall as inequality is reduced. The capital market is in equilibrium at a lower rate of return. The results bear important implications for economic growth and distributive policies.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6485.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6485

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Keywords: interest rates; wealth distribution;

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Cited by:
  1. Arezki, Rabah & Brückner, Markus, 2012. "Rainfall, financial development, and remittances: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 377-385.
  2. Markus Bruckner & Era Dabla-Norris & Mark Gradstein, 2014. "National Income and Its Distribution," IMF Working Papers 14/101, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Hans Peter Grüner, 2009. "Kapitalbeteiligung von Mitarbeitern. Eine Bewertung der jüngsten Vorschläge," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(2), pages 175-188, 05.

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