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Distribution of wealth and incomplete markets: Theory and empirical evidence

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  • Fiaschi, Davide
  • Marsili, Matteo

Abstract

This paper analyses the equilibrium distribution of wealth in an economy where firms’ productivities are subject to idiosyncratic shocks, returns on factors are determined in competitive markets, households have linear consumption functions and government imposes taxes on capital and labour incomes and equally redistributes the collected resources to households. The equilibrium distribution of wealth is explicitly calculated and its shape crucially depends on market incompleteness. With incomplete markets it follows a Paretian law in the top tail and the Pareto exponent depends on the saving rate, on the net return on capital, on the growth rate of population, and on portfolio diversification. The characteristics of the labour market crucially affects the bottom tail, but not the upper tail of the distribution of wealth in the case of completely decentralized labour market. The analysis also suggests a positive relationship between growth and wealth inequality. The theoretical predictions find a corroboration in the empirical evidence of United States in the period 1989–2004.

Suggested Citation

  • Fiaschi, Davide & Marsili, Matteo, 2012. "Distribution of wealth and incomplete markets: Theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 243-267.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:81:y:2012:i:1:p:243-267
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.10.015
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    Cited by:

    1. Luciano Fanti & Luca Gori, 2012. "Endogenous Lifetime in an Overlapping-Generations Small Open Economy," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 68(2), pages 121-152, June.
    2. Manuela Gussoni - Andrea Mangani, 2009. "The impact of public funding for innovation on firms' R&D investments: Do R&D cooperation and appropriability matter?," Discussion Papers 2009/90, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
    3. Fiaschi, Davide & Marsili, Matteo, 2012. "Distribution of wealth and incomplete markets: Theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 243-267.
    4. Thomas Piketty, 2011. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820--2050," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1071-1131.
    5. Davide Fiaschi & Matteo Marsili, 2009. "Economic interactions and the distribution of wealth," Papers 0906.1512, arXiv.org.
    6. Alberto Russo, 2014. "A Stochastic Model of Wealth Accumulation with Class Division," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 1-35, February.
    7. Markus P. A. Schneider, 2018. "Revisiting the thermal and superthermal two-class distribution of incomes: A critical perspective," Papers 1804.06341, arXiv.org.
    8. Jess Benhabib & Alberto Bisin, 2016. "Skewed Wealth Distributions: Theory and Empirics," NBER Working Papers 21924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gao, Li, 2015. "Evolution of consumption distribution and model of wealth distribution in China between 1995 and 2012," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 429(C), pages 76-86.
    10. Hua, Jia-Chen & Chen, Lijian & Falcon, Liberty & McCauley, Joseph L. & Gunaratne, Gemunu H., 2015. "Variable diffusion in stock market fluctuations," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 419(C), pages 221-233.
    11. Anand Banerjee & Victor M. Yakovenko, 2009. "Universal patterns of inequality," Papers 0912.4898, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2010.
    12. Luciano Fanti & Luca Gori, 2009. "Endogenous fertility, endogenous lifetime and economic growth: the role of health and child policies," Discussion Papers 2009/91, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wealth distribution; Incomplete markets; Earnings distribution; Capital income taxation; Productivity shocks; Portfolio diversification; Nonparametric estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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