A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality
AbstractThis paper explores the dynamics of income inequality by studying the evolution of human capital investment and neighborhood choice for a population of families. Parents affect the conditional probability distribution of their children's income through the choice of a neighborhood in which to live. Neighborhood location affects children through two mechanisms. First, the level of education depends on the total income of a neighborhood, as all school funding is determined by majority voting. Human capital markets are incomplete as neighborhoods cannot borrow to supplement tax revenues available for education. Second, the conditional probability distribution of individual-specific productivity shocks is affected by the income distribution within a neighborhood. This dependence reflects cultural influences such as the presence in a community of successful role models. These forces interact to endogenously stratify the economy as families segregate themselves into economically homogeneous neighborhoods. Our model has two important features. First, starting from identical initial conditions, families can exhibit different long term income levels, leading to persistent income inequality. Second, areas of permanent poverty can emerge endogenously in a growing economy as neighborhood-wide feedback effects transmit poverty across generations.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4056.
Date of creation: Apr 1992
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
- Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988.
"Income Distribution and Macroeconomics,"
51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
- Benabou, Roland, 1993.
"Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-52, August.
- Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Westhoff, Frank, 1977. "Existence of equilibria in economies with a local public good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 84-112, February.
- Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989.
"Industrialization and the Big Push,"
3606235, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
- Datcher, Linda P, 1982. "Effects of Community and Family Background on Achievement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 32-41, February.
- repec:fth:prinin:265 is not listed on IDEAS
- 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.
- Mary Jo Bane & David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Slipping into and out of Poverty: The Dynamics of Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-23.
- Durlauf, Steven N, 1993.
"Nonergodic Economic Growth,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 349-66, April.
- Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
- David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990.
"Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States,"
645, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
- David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1991.
"Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 211-35, April.
- Abhijit Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1989. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Discussion Papers 877, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
- Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo Manuelli, 1990. "A Convex Model of Equilibrium Growth," NBER Working Papers 3241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mary Corcoran & Roger H. Gordon & Deborah Laren & Gary Solon, 1989. "Effects of Family and Community Background on Men's Economic Status," NBER Working Papers 2896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Streufert, Peter, 2000. " The Effect of Underclass Social Isolation on Schooling Choice," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(4), pages 461-82.
- Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
- Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.