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Competition, human capital and income inequality with limited commitment

  • Marimon, Ramon
  • Quadrini, Vincenzo
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    We develop a dynamic model with two-sided limited commitment to study how barriers to competition, such as restrictions to business start-up and non-competitive covenants, affect the incentive to accumulate human capital. When contracts are not enforceable, high barriers lower the outside value of 'skilled workers' and reduce the incentive to accumulate human capital. In contrast, low barriers can result in over-accumulation of human capital. This can be socially optimal if there are positive spillovers. A calibration exercise shows that this mechanism can account for a sizable portion of cross-country income inequality.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

    Volume (Year): 146 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (May)
    Pages: 976-1008

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:146:y:2011:i:3:p:976-1008
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    1. Jeremy Greenwood, 2007. "Financing Development: The Role of Information Costs," 2007 Meeting Papers 171, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    4. Michelacci, Claudio & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2005. "Financial Markets and Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 4867, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," Working papers 98-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    7. Pedro S. Amaral & Erwan Quintin, 2010. "Limited Enforcement, Financial Intermediation, And Economic Development: A Quantitative Assessment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 785-811, 08.
    8. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2010. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127264.
    9. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, June.
    10. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Glenn MacDonald, 2004. "Investor Protection, Optimal Incentives, and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1131-1175.
    11. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1994. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 841-879.
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