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A Dynamic Incentive-Based Argument for Conditional Transfers

  • DILIP MOOKHERJEE
  • DEBRAJ RAY

We compare the long-run effects of replacing unconditional transfers to the poor by transfers conditional on the education of children. Unlike Mirrlees' income taxation model, the distribution of skill evolves endogenously. Human capital accumulation follows the Freeman-Ljungqvist-Mookherjee-Ray OLG model with missing capital markets and dynastic bequest motives. Conditional transfers (funded by taxes on earnings of the skilled) are shown to induce higher long-run output per capita and (both utilitarian and Rawlsian) welfare, owing to their superior effect on skill accumulation incentives. The result is established both with two skill levels, and a continuum of occupations. Copyright © 2008 The Economic Society of Australia.

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Article provided by The Economic Society of Australia in its journal Economic Record.

Volume (Year): 84 (2008)
Issue (Month): s1 (09)
Pages: S2-S16

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:84:y:2008:i:s1:p:s2-s16
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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir, 2004. "A Behavioral-Economics View of Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 419-423, May.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak & Benabou, Roland & Mookherjee, Dilip (ed.), 2006. "Understanding Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195305203, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Parker, Susan W., 2001. "Conditional cash transfers and their impact on child work and schooling," FCND discussion papers 123, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "Equilibrium Income Inequality among Identical Agents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1047-64, October.
  6. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-75, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Dilip Mokherjee & Stefan Napel, 2006. "Intergenerational Mobility and Macroeconomic History Dependence," Discussion Papers 1, Aboa Centre for Economics.
  9. Debraj Ray, 2006. "On the dynamics of inequality," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 291-306, October.
  10. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
  11. Thurow, Lester C, 1974. "Cash Versus In-Kind Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 190-95, May.
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