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Capital Wealth Inequality and Public Bads: A Mathematical Analysis


  • James A. Yunker

    () (Western Illinois University)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • James A. Yunker, 2003. "Capital Wealth Inequality and Public Bads: A Mathematical Analysis," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 105-119, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:29:y:2003:i:1:p:105-119

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
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    5. 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.
    6. Kahn, Matthew E & Matsusaka, John G, 1997. "Demand for Environmental Goods: Evidence from Voting Patterns on California Initiatives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 137-173, April.
    7. William T. Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Molloy Wilson, 2002. "Reexamining The Empirical Evidence For An Environmental Kuznets Curve," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 541-551, August.
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    9. Statistics Canada, 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. 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.
    11. Wolff, Edward N, 1992. "Changing Inequality of Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 552-558, May.
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    13. 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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    More about this item


    Distribution; Wealth; Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution


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