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Thomas Piketty and the rate of time preference

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  • Fischer, Thomas

Abstract

Using a standard model in which the individual consumption path is computed solving an optimal control problem, we investigate central claims of Piketty (2014). Rather than r > g (confirmed in the data) r−ρ>g – with ρ being the rate of time preference – matters. If this condition holds and the elasticity of substitution in the production function is larger than one, the capital share converges to one in the long run. Nevertheless, this does not have major impact on the distribution of wealth. The latter, however, converges to maximum inequality for heterogeneous time preferences or rates of interest (either persistent or stochastic). For the latter, the presence of finite life times leads to a distribution with finite wealth inequality featuring fat tails.

Suggested Citation

  • Fischer, Thomas, 2017. "Thomas Piketty and the rate of time preference," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 111-133.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:77:y:2017:i:c:p:111-133
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2017.02.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard A. Brecher & Till Gross, 2017. "Unemployment and Income-Distribution Effects of Economic Growth: A Minimum-Wage Analysis with Optimal Saving," Carleton Economic Papers 17-08, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 14 Jul 2017.
    2. 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).
    3. Kevin Luo & Tomoko Kinugasa & Kai Kajitani, 2018. "Dynamic efficiency in world economy," Discussion Papers 1801, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wealth inequality; Optimal control path; Dynamic efficiency; Fat tails;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques

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