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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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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. repec:fth:bosecd:108 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Is Equality Stable?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 253-259, May.
  3. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2000. "The Rise of Mass Consumption Societies," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 23, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1998. "Endogenous Inequality," Discussion Papers 1238, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2000. "Contractual Structure and Wealth Accumulation," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 107, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  6. 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.
  7. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2000. "Persistent Inequality," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-108, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Oct 2002.
  8. 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.
  9. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
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  13. Ray, Debraj & Streufert, Peter A, 1993. "Dynamic Equilibria with Unemployment Due to Undernourishment," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 61-85, January.
  14. 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.
  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. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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