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Envy And Inequality

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  • Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado

    ()

  • Ngo Van Long

    ()

Abstract

We present an overlapping generations economy populated by heterogeneous agents who care about their consumption relative to others and the bequest they leave to their offspring. In the presence of positional concerns individual saving and bequest rates vary across the income distribution. This dispersion in the rates of asset accumulation is the main channel for envy to impact the degree of intra-generational wealth inequality and its inter-generational transmission. Our results suggest that concerns for relative consumption might be an important explanatory factor for the surprisingly low levels of assets held by low-income households and the high concentration of bequests in the upper tail of the wealth distribution.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McGill University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2009-03.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcl:mclwop:2009-03

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ronald Wendner, 2011. "Ramsey, Pigou, heterogenous agents, and non-atmospheric consumption externalities," Graz Economics Papers 2012-01, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
  2. Van Long, Ngo & McWhinnie, Stephanie F., 2012. "The tragedy of the commons in a fishery when relative performance matters," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 140-154.
  3. Eckerstorfer, Paul & Wendner, Ronald, 2013. "Asymmetric and non-atmospheric consumption externalities, and efficient consumption taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 42-56.
  4. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & El-Attar, Mayssun, 2012. "Income Inequality and Saving," IZA Discussion Papers 7083, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Jose Maria Casado & Jose Maria Labeaga & Dhanoos Sutthiphisal, 2012. "Envy and habits: panel data estimates of interdependent preferences," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 1213, Banco de Espa�a.

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