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When does heterogeneity matter?

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  • Yi Wen
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Abstract

How do movements in the distribution of income affect the macroeconomy? Krusell and Smith (1998) analyzed this question in a neoclassical growth model, and their results show that the representative-agent assumption provides a good approximation for aggregate behaviors of heterogeneous agents. This paper extends their analysis to a cash-in-advance model with heterogeneous money demand. It is shown that movements in the distribution of monetary income can have significant impact on the macroeconomy. For example, the dynamic responses of aggregate output to monetary shocks behave very differently from those of a representative agent; the welfare costs of moderate inflation are much higher than previously thought, up to 20% of consumption when the inequality of cash distribution is sufficiently large. This is in sharp contrast to the findings of Cooley and Hansen (1989) and Lucas (2000) based on representative-agent models.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-024.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-024

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Keywords: Liquidity (Economics) ; Money theory;

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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal To Replace The New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328, November.
  2. Robert J. Hodrick & Narayana Kocherlakota & Deborah Lucas, 1989. "The Variability of Velocity in Cash-In-Advance Models," NBER Working Papers 2891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The welfare cost of inflation under imperfect insurance," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 79-91, January.
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  6. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
  7. Thomas F. Cooley & Gary D. Hansen, 1987. "The Inflation Tax in a Real Business Cycle Model," UCLA Economics Working Papers 496, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," GSIA Working Papers 1997-37, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
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  11. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Stokey, Nancy L, 1987. "Money and Interest in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 491-513, May.
  12. Fernando Alvarez & Andrew Atkeson & Chris Edmond, 2003. "On the Sluggish Response of Prices to Money in an Inventory-Theoretic Model of Money Demand," NBER Working Papers 10016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Salas, Sergio, 2013. "Credit frictions and unexpected credit crunches," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 161-181.

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