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Politico-economic consequences of rising wage inequality

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  • Corbae, Dean
  • D'Erasmo, Pablo
  • Kuruscu, Burhanettin

Abstract

This paper uses a dynamic political economy model to evaluate whether the observed rise in wage inequality and decrease in median to mean wages can explain some portion of the relative increase in transfers to low earnings quintiles and relative increase in effective tax rates for high earnings quintiles in the U.S. over the past several decades. Specifically, we assume that households have uninsurable idiosyncratic labor efficiency shocks and consider policy choices by a median voter which are required to be consistent with a sequential equilibrium. We choose the transition matrix to match observed mobility in wages between 1978 and 1979 in the panel study of income dynamics (PSID) data set and then evaluate the response of social insurance policies to a new transition matrix that matches the observed mobility in wages between 1995 and 1996 and is consistent with the rise in wage inequality and the decrease in median to mean wages between 1979 and 1996. We deal with the problem that policy outcomes affect the evolution of the wealth distribution (and hence prices) by approximating the distribution by a small set of moments. We contrast these numbers with those from a sequential utilitarian mechanism, as well as mechanisms with commitment.

Suggested Citation

  • Corbae, Dean & D'Erasmo, Pablo & Kuruscu, Burhanettin, 2009. "Politico-economic consequences of rising wage inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 43-61, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:56:y:2009:i:1:p:43-61
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    Cited by:

    1. Azzimonti, Marina & de Francisco, Eva & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2012. "Financial Globalization, Inequality, and the Raising of Public Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 8893, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Rüdiger Bachmann & Jinhui H. Bai, 2013. "Public consumption over the business cycle," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(3), pages 417-451, November.
    3. Elizabeth Caucutt & Thomas Cooley & Nezih Guner, 2013. "The farm, the city, and the emergence of social security," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-32, March.
    4. Alessandro Riboni & Facundo Piguillem, 2011. "Dynamic Bargaining over Redistribution in Legislatures," 2011 Meeting Papers 1320, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Dressler, Scott, 2016. "A long-run, short-run, and politico-economic analysis of the welfare costs of inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 47(PB), pages 255-269.
    6. Pablo D'Erasmo & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2016. "Distributional Incentives In An Equilibrium Model Of Domestic Sovereign Default," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 7-44, February.
    7. Yamada, Tomoaki, 2011. "A politically feasible social security reform with a two-tier structure," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 199-224, September.
    8. Facundo Piguillem & Anderson Schneider, 2013. "Heterogeneous Labor Skills, The Median Voter and Labor Taxes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 332-349, April.
    9. Kerr, William R., 2014. "Income inequality and social preferences for redistribution and compensation differentials," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 62-78.
    10. Kirill Borissov & Alexander Surkov, 2010. "Endogenous Growth in a Model with Heterogeneous Agents and Voting on Public Goods," EUSP Department of Economics Working Paper Series Ec-01/10, European University at St. Petersburg, Department of Economics, revised 29 Sep 2010.
    11. Pablo D'Erasmo & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2016. "Optimal Domestic (and External) Sovereign Default," NBER Working Papers 22509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. HSU Minchung & YAMADA Tomoaki, 2017. "Population Aging, Health Care, and Fiscal Policy Reform: The challenges for Japan," Discussion papers 17038, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    13. Athreya, Kartik B., 2014. "Big Ideas in Macroeconomics: A Nontechnical View," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262019736, January.
    14. Kirill Borissov & Thierry Brechet & Stephane Lambrecht, 2012. "Environmental maintenance in a dynamic model with heterogenous agents," CEEES Paper Series CE3S-02/12, European University at St. Petersburg, Department of Economics.
    15. Carroll, Daniel R. & Dolmas, James & Young, Eric R., 2015. "Majority Voting: A Quantitative Investigation," Working Paper 1442, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    16. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    17. Daniel R. Carroll, 2013. "The demand for income tax progressivity in the growth model," Working Paper 1106, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    18. Marco Cozzi, 2015. "The Krusell–Smith Algorithm: Are Self-Fulfilling Equilibria Likely?," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 46(4), pages 653-670, December.

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