IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/dyncon/v44y2014icp251-269.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Instability and concentration in the distribution of wealth

Author

Listed:
  • Fernholz, Ricardo
  • Fernholz, Robert

Abstract

We consider a setup in which infinitely lived households face idiosyncratic investment risk and show that in this case the equilibrium distribution of wealth becomes increasingly right-skewed over time until wealth concentrates entirely at the top. The households in our setup are identical in terms of their patience and their abilities, and we assume that there are no redistributive mechanisms—neither explicit in the form of government tax or fiscal policies, nor implicit in the form of limited intergenerational transfers. Our results demonstrate that the presence of such redistributive mechanisms alone ensures the stability of the distribution of wealth over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernholz, Ricardo & Fernholz, Robert, 2014. "Instability and concentration in the distribution of wealth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 251-269.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:44:y:2014:i:c:p:251-269
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2014.05.001
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165188914001092
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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, January.
    2. Marco Cagetti & Mariacristina De Nardi, 2006. "Entrepreneurship, Frictions, and Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 835-870, October.
    3. Angeletos, George-Marios & Calvet, Laurent-Emmanuel, 2006. "Idiosyncratic production risk, growth and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(6), pages 1095-1115, September.
    4. Carlyle, Thomas, 1837. "The French Revolution," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number carlyle1837.
    5. A. B. Atkinson, 2005. "Top incomes in the UK over the 20th century," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(2), pages 325-343.
    6. Vincenzo Quadrini, 2000. "Entrepreneurship, Saving and Social Mobility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, January.
    7. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    8. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 382-397, July.
    9. Hendricks, Lutz, 2007. "How important is discount rate heterogeneity for wealth inequality?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 3042-3068, September.
    10. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
    11. Santiago Budria Rodriguez & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2002. "Updated facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-35.
    12. James B. Davies & Susanna Sandström & Anthony Shorrocks & Edward N. Wolff, 2011. "The Level and Distribution of Global Household Wealth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 223-254, March.
    13. Cagetti, Marco & De Nardi, Mariacristina, 2008. "Wealth Inequality: Data And Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 285-313, September.
    14. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
    15. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    16. Case, Karl E & Shiller, Robert J, 1989. "The Efficiency of the Market for Single-Family Homes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 125-137, March.
    17. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2004. "Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 026212274x.
    18. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-257, August.
    19. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
    21. Marjorie Flavin & Takashi Yamashita, 2002. "Owner-Occupied Housing and the Composition of the Household Portfolio," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 345-362, March.
    22. Chiaki Moriguchi & Emmanuel Saez, 2008. "The Evolution of Income Concentration in Japan, 1886-2005: Evidence from Income Tax Statistics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 713-734, November.
    23. Xavier Gabaix, 2009. "Power Laws in Economics and Finance," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 255-294, May.
    24. George-Marios Angeletos, 2007. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Investment Risk and Aggregate Saving," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(1), pages 1-30, January.
    25. Tomoyuki Ichiba & Vassilios Papathanakos & Adrian Banner & Ioannis Karatzas & Robert Fernholz, 2009. "Hybrid Atlas models," Papers 0909.0065, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2011.
    26. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.
    27. Thomas Piketty, 2003. "Income Inequality in France, 1901-1998," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1004-1042, October.
    28. Robert A. Becker, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-382.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Christophe Chorro, 2015. "A Simple Probabilistic Approach of the Yard-Sale Model," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 15062, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    2. Boehl, Gregor & Fischer, Thomas, 2017. "Capital Taxation and Investment: Matching 100 Years of Wealth Inequality Dynamics," Working Papers 2017:8, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    3. Ricardo T. Fernholz, 2016. "A Statistical Model of Inequality," Papers 1601.04093, arXiv.org.
    4. Chorro, Christophe, 2016. "A simple probabilistic approach of the Yard-Sale model," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 35-40.
    5. Fischer, Thomas, 2017. "Thomas Piketty and the rate of time preference," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 111-133.
    6. Ricardo T. Fernholz & Robert Fernholz, 2017. "Universality of Zipf's Law for Time-Dependent Rank-Based Systems," Papers 1707.04285, arXiv.org, revised May 2018.
    7. Nicolas Bouleau & Christophe Chorro, 2015. "The impact of randomness on the distribution of wealth: Some economic aspects of the Wright-Fisher diffusion process," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 15024r, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne, revised Jul 2015.
    8. Böhl, Gregor & Fischer, Thomas, 2017. "Can taxation predict US top-wealth share dynamics?," IMFS Working Paper Series 118, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    9. Ricardo T. Fernholz, 2016. "Empirical Methods for Dynamic Power Law Distributions in the Social Sciences," Papers 1602.00159, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2016.
    10. Fernholz, Ricardo T., 2016. "A Model of economic mobility and the distribution of wealth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 168-192.
    11. Christophe Chorro, 2015. "A Simple Probabilistic Approach of the Yard-Sale Model," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01222500, HAL.
    12. Nicolas Bouleau & Christophe Chorro, 2015. "The impact of randomness on the distribution of wealth: Some economic aspects of the Wright-Fisher diffusion process," Post-Print halshs-01162452, HAL.
    13. Bouleau, Nicolas & Chorro, Christophe, 2017. "The impact of randomness on the distribution of wealth: Some economic aspects of the Wright–Fisher diffusion process," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 479(C), pages 379-395.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wealth distribution; Inequality; Incomplete markets;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:44:y:2014:i:c:p:251-269. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.