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Income Distribution, Market Structure, and Individual Welfare

Author

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  • Tarasov Alexander

    () (University of Munich)

Abstract

This paper explores how income distribution affects market structure, prices, and economic well-being of different consumer groups. I consider a general equilibrium model of monopolistic competition with free entry, heterogenous firms and consumers that share identical but non-homothetic preferences. The results in the paper suggest that poverty reduction might be of a greater importance than lowering income inequality, as lower income inequality does not necessarily lead to welfare gains of the poor. In particular, I show that higher income inequality may benefit the poor via a trickle-down effect operating through the entry of firms into the market.

Suggested Citation

  • Tarasov Alexander, 2009. "Income Distribution, Market Structure, and Individual Welfare," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-39, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejtec:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:39
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Devashish Mitra & Vitor Trindade, 2005. "Inequality and trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1253-1271, November.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    3. Reto Foellmi & Josef Zweimuller, 2006. "Income Distribution and Demand-Induced Innovations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 941-960.
    4. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    5. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1989. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 537-564.
    6. A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), 2000. "Handbook of Income Distribution," Handbook of Income Distribution, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    7. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity (DOI:10.111/j.1467-937x.2007.00463.x)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 985-985.
    8. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
    9. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:30747194 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Krishna, Kala & Yavas, Cemile, 2005. "When trade hurts: Consumption indivisibilities and labor market distortions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 413-427, December.
    12. Robert J. Waldmann, 1992. "Income Distribution and Infant Mortality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1283-1302.
    13. Foellmi, Reto & Zweimuller, Josef, 2004. "Inequality, market power, and product diversity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 139-145, January.
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    15. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2000. "A Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods under Nonhomothetic Preferences: Demand Complementarities, Income Distribution, and North-South Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1093-1120, December.
    16. Glaeser, Edward & Scheinkman, Jose & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The injustice of inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 199-222, January.
    17. Nancy L. Stokey, 1991. "The Volume and Composition of Trade Between Rich and Poor Countries," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 63-80.
    18. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-822, December.
    19. Markusen, James R, 1986. "Explaining the Volume of Trade: An Eclectic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1002-1011, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Tarasov, 2012. "Trade Liberalization and Welfare Inequality: A Demand-Based Approach," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1296-1317, December.
    2. Tarasov, Alexander, 2009. "Consumer Preferences in Monopolistic Competition Models," MPRA Paper 19990, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Alexander Tarasov, 2014. "Preferences and income effects in monopolistic competition models," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(3), pages 647-669, March.
    4. Namrata Gulati & Prabal Roy Chowdhury, 2010. "Income inequality, neighbourhood effects and product quality," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 10-06, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

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