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Assessing Aggregate Tests of Efficiency for Dynamic Economies


  • Barbie Martin

    () (Universität Karlsruhe)

  • Hagedorn Marcus

    () (University of Bonn)

  • Kaul Ashok

    () (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)


In a seminal contribution Abel, Mankiw, Summers, and Zeckhauser (1989) show that from an aggregate dynamic perspective the US economy is Pareto efficient. We argue that, when applying their test, they implicitly make strong assumptions about the economy's future behavior. We show how time series evidence may easily lead to wrong conclusions about the welfare properties of real world economies.We present a test criterion based on Zilcha (1991) and robust evidence that the US economy does not overaccumulate capital. Our contribution highlights that the distinction between efficient capital accumulation and Pareto efficiency is empirically relevant. The latter efficiency benchmark - encompassing also risk sharing issues - cannot be rigorously tested based on available approaches in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbie Martin & Hagedorn Marcus & Kaul Ashok, 2004. "Assessing Aggregate Tests of Efficiency for Dynamic Economies," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:topics.4:y:2004:i:1:n:16

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bloise, Gaetano & Reichlin, Pietro, 2011. "Asset prices, debt constraints and inefficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(4), pages 1520-1546, July.
    2. Steve Ambler & Craig Alexander, 2015. "One Percent? For Real? Insights from Modern Growth Theory about Future Investment Returns," e-briefs 216, C.D. Howe Institute.
    3. Julia, Knolle, 2014. "An Empirical Comparison of Interest and Growth Rates," MPRA Paper 59520, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Sebastian Rausch & Thomas Rutherford, 2010. "Computation of Equilibria in OLG Models with Many Heterogeneous Households," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 36(2), pages 171-189, August.
    5. Andersen, Torben M. & Bhattacharya, Joydeep, 2013. "Unfunded Pensions And Endogenous Labor Supply," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(05), pages 971-997, July.
    6. Chattopadhyay, Subir, 2008. "The Cass criterion, the net dividend criterion, and optimality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 335-352, March.
    7. Martin Barbie & Ashok Kaul, 2009. "The Zilcha criteria for dynamic inefficiency reconsidered," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 40(2), pages 339-348, August.
    8. Mauri Kotamäki, 2013. "The Pension Scheme Need Not Be Pay-As-You-Go: An Overlapping Generations Approach," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 56-71, Autumn.
    9. Kevin Luo & Tomoko Kinugasa & Kai Kajitani, 2018. "Dynamic efficiency in world economy," Discussion Papers 1801, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    10. Philippe Weil, 2008. "Overlapping Generations: the First Jubilee," Post-Print hal-01022015, HAL.

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