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Heterogeneous Time-Preference and the Distribution of Wealth

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Author Info

  • David Andolfatto

    (Simon Fraser University)

  • James Redekop

    (The University of Waterloo)

Abstract

This paper analyzes a dynamic model in which physical capital can be accumulated or depleted, and labour supply is endogenous. The distribution of income is then endogenously determined by both technological parameters of production, and the distribution of agents' discount parameters. Degenerate wealth distributions, in which only the most patient agents have any wealth, are avoided by having a fraction of the agents die each period, and bequeath their wealth to descendants with independently random discount parameters. On average, more patient agents will have higher wealths and incomes, but in the short run agents' stocks of wealth depend on their inherited wealth. If a patient individual lives long enough, she will retire and live on only investment income, while if an impatient individual lives long enough, he will deplete all his wealth and live on only labour earnings. The effects of a general increase in patience are an increase in the wage rate, a lowering of the return on capital, and general increases in wealth, income, and utility. Possibilities for engineering such an increase, by promoting 'artificial patience', could include favourable taxation of investment income, forced savings such as payroll-tax financed pension plans, or public subsidies for education and health.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0310004.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 06 Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0310004

Note: Type of Document - Tex/; prepared on IBM PC; to print on Lexmark Optra E310; pages: 29
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: time-preference; patience; wealth;

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References

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  1. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Growth with Many Consumers," Discussion Papers 518, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Benveniste, L M & Scheinkman, J A, 1979. "On the Differentiability of the Value Function in Dynamic Models of Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 727-32, May.
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Cited by:
  1. David Andolfatto & James Redekop, 1998. "Redistribution Policy in a Model with Heterogeneous Time Preference," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 66, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.

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