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Capital Wealth Inequality and Public Bads: A Mathematical Analysis

  • James A. Yunker

    ()

    (Western Illinois University)

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    In A Future for Socialism (1994), John Roerrre'r argues that the highly unequal distribution of capital wealth under contemporary capitalism results in a level of public bads (e.g., environmental degradation) higher than that which would be preferred by the large majority of the population. This contention is examined using an alternative formal model, of arguably greater economic content and realism, from which the result is obtained that the household's share of capital property return has an uncertain effect on its preferred level of the public bad. In the CES special case, the effect of household capital wealth on its preferred level of public bad is determined by the elasticities of substitution in the production and utility functions.

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    File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume29/V29N1P105_119.pdf
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    Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
    Pages: 105-119

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    Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:29:y:2003:i:1:p:105-119
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    1. Wolfgang Keller & Arik Levinson, 2000. "Environmental Regulations and FDI Inflows to U.S. States," Working Papers gueconwpa~00-00-06, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
    3. James Boyce, 1994. "Inequality as a Cause of Environmental Degradation," Published Studies ps1, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    4. William Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Wilson, 2000. "Reexamining the Empirical Evidence for an Environmental Kuznets Curve," NBER Working Papers 7711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Wolff, Edward N, 1992. "Changing Inequality of Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 552-58, May.
    6. Harford, Jon D., 1987. "Self-reporting of pollution and the firm's behavior under imperfectly enforceable regulations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 293-303, September.
    7. McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Voting for pollution policy: the importance of income inequality and openness to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 425-451, December.
    8. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
    9. Murphy, Brian & Wolfson, Michael, 1998. "New Views on Inequality Trends in Canada and the United States," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998124e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    10. Khan, M. & Matsusaka, J.G., 1995. "Demand for Environment Goods: Evidence from Voting Patterns on California Initiatives," Discussion Papers 1995_08, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
    11. Roemer, J.E., 1991. "Would Economic Democracy Decrease the Amount of Public Bads?," Papers 376, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    12. Moomaw, William R. & Unruh, Gregory C., 1997. "Are environmental Kuznets curves misleading us? The case of CO2 emissions," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(04), pages 451-463, November.
    13. Magnani, Elisabetta, 2000. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve, environmental protection policy and income distribution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 431-443, March.
    14. Grossman, Gene M & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-77, May.
    15. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "The Inheritance of Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
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