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Persistent Inequality

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  • Mookherjee, Dilip
  • Ray, Debraj

Abstract

Existing literature explains persistent inequality either by ongoing shocks to abilities or preferences, or by a combination of technological indivisibilities, capital market imperfections and ad hoc assumptions concerning savings behavior. We focus on the role of pecuniary externalities - driven by endogenous movements in relative prices - in explaining both the emergence and persistence of long-run inequality. With imperfect capital markets, it turns out that long-run inequality is inevitable, even if investments are divisible, agents maximize dynastic utility, and there are no random shocks. However, the divisibility of investment does matter in determining the multiplicity of steady states: with perfect divisibility such multiplicity typically disappears. We subsequently characterize efficient steady states, and study non-steady-state dynamics in a two occupation context.

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File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/14397/1/pie_dp57.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Discussion Paper with number 57.

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Length: 52 p.
Date of creation: Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:piedp1:57

Note: This version: September 2001
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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Ray, Debraj & Streufert, Peter A, 1993. "Dynamic Equilibria with Unemployment Due to Undernourishment," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 61-85, January.
  3. Ljungqvist, Lars, 1993. "Economic underdevelopment : The case of a missing market for human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-239, April.
  4. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2000. "Contractual Structure and Wealth Accumulation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1538, Econometric Society.
  5. 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.
  6. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Is Equality Stable?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 253-259, May.
  7. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 2000. "Endogenous Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 743-59, October.
  8. Majumdar, Mukul & Mitra, Tapan, 1982. "Intertemporal allocation with a non-convex technology: The aggregative framework," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 101-136, June.
  9. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  10. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1999. "The Rise of Mass Consumption Societies," Discussion Papers 1289, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Majumdar, Mukul & Mitra, Tapan, 1983. "Dynamic Optimization with a Non-Convex Technology: The Case of a Linear Objective Function," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 143-51, January.
  12. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Persistent Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 369-393.
  13. Maoz, Yishay D & Moav, Omer, 1999. "Intergenerational Mobility and the Process of Development," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 677-97, October.
  14. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  15. Dechert, W. Davis & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1983. "A complete characterization of optimal growth paths in an aggregated model with a non-concave production function," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 332-354, December.
  16. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  18. repec:fth:bosecd:108 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Moav, Omer, 2002. "Income distribution and macroeconomics: the persistence of inequality in a convex technology framework," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 187-192, April.
  20. Baland, Jean-Marie & Ray, Debraj, 1991. "Why does asset inequality affect unemployment? A study of the demand composition problem," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 69-92, January.
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