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The distribution of wealth and redistributive policies

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  • Jess Benhabib
  • Alberto Bisin

    ()
    (Department of Economics New York University)

Abstract

In this paper we study theoretically the dynamics of the distribution of wealth in an Overlapping Generation economy with bequest and various forms of redistributive taxation. We characterize the transitional dynamics of the wealth distribution and as well as the stationary distribution. We show that, in our economy, the stationary wealth distribution is a power law, a Pareto distribution in particular. Wealth is less concentrated (the Gini coefficient is lower) for both higher capital income taxes and estate taxes, but the marginal effect of capital income taxes is much stronger than the effect of estate taxes. Finally, we characterize optimal redistributive taxes with respect to an utilitarian social welfare measure. Social welfare is maximized short of minimal wealth inequality and with zero estate taxes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 368.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:368

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Keywords: wealth distribution;

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  1. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2002. "Wealth inequality and intergenerational links," Staff Report 314, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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Cited by:
  1. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2008. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 49-100, 02.
  2. Jess Benhabib & Alberto Bisin & Shenghao Zhu, 2011. "The Distribution of Wealth and Fiscal Policy in Economies With Finitely Lived Agents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 123-157, 01.
  3. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2010. "Models of Growth and Firm Heterogeneity," Working Papers 2010-1, University of Minnesota, Department of Economics.
  4. Graziella Bertocchi, 2007. "The vanishing bequest tax. The Comparative Evolution of Bequest Taxation in Historical Perspective," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 005, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  5. Jess Benhabib & Shenghao Zhu, 2008. "Age, Luck, and Inheritance," NBER Working Papers 14128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Wang, Neng, 2007. "An equilibrium model of wealth distribution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1882-1904, October.
  7. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," NBER Working Papers 15408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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