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The Distribution of Wealth with Imperfect Altruism

  • Dutta, Jayasri
  • Michel, Philippe

In this paper, we study the distribution of wealth in an economy with infinitely lived families. Individual generations of each family may or may not be altruistic. This is represented as a preference shock which follows a first-order Markov process within each family, a feature representing imperfect altruism. Altruistic individuals care about the welfare of their children and are likely to leave bequests; selfish ones do not. This results in a non-trivial distribution of wealth among families at any point in time. We study an economy with a risk-free, linear production technology and show that a stationary distribution of wealth exists. This distribution is discrete and approximates the pareto distribution under additional restrictions. We also charac- terize conditions on the production technology which yields perpetual growth with increasing inequality.

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

Volume (Year): 82 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 379-404

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:82:y:1998:i:2:p:379-404
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
  2. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  9. Laitner, John, 1993. "Long-run equilibria with borrowing constraints and altruism," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 65-96.
  10. Mirman, Leonard J. & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1975. "On optimal growth under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 329-339, December.
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  13. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E, 1990. "A Convex Model of Equilibrium Growth: Theory and Policy Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1008-38, October.
  14. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin S & Peled, Dan, 1985. "The Distribution of Wealth and Welfare in the Presence of Incomplete Annuity Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 789-806, August.
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