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The Distribution of Wealth and the Efficiency of Institutions

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  • Eaton, B Curtis
  • White, William D

Abstract

This paper explores the effect on economic efficiency of the distribution of wealth and systems for enforcing property rights. The authors construct a two-person, two-period economy in which each person can consume, plant, transfer, or steal corn. They find circumstances in which redistribution of wealth is Pareto optimal and in which increasing sanctions against theft to the maximum level is not. These results suggest that it is not only important to consider distribution in the design of property institutions, but also that redistribution itself may serve to increase the efficiency of systems of property rights. Copyright 1991 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Eaton, B Curtis & White, William D, 1991. "The Distribution of Wealth and the Efficiency of Institutions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 336-350, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:29:y:1991:i:2:p:336-50
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William D. Nordhaus, 1980. "Policy Responses to the Productivity Slowdown," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 555, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Productivity Growth and R&D at the Business Level: Results from the PIMS Data Base," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 134-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Minasian, Jora R, 1969. "Research and Development, Production Functions, and Rates of Return," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 80-85, May.
    4. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Link, Albert N, 1981. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing: Additional Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1111-1112, December.
    6. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard C. Levin & David C. Mowery, 1987. "Firm Size and R&D Intensity: A Re-Examination," NBER Working Papers 2205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Stern, Robert M & Baum, Christopher F & Greene, Mark N, 1979. "Evidence on Structural Change in the Demand for Aggregate U.S. Imports and Exports," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(1), pages 179-192, February.
    8. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    9. Cohen, Wesley M & Levin, Richard C & Mowery, David C, 1987. "Firm Size and R&D Intensity: A Re-examination," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 543-565, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eaton, B.Curtis & Wen, Jean-François, 2008. "Myopic deterrence policies and the instability of equilibria," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 609-624, March.
    2. Di Tella, Rafael & Dubra, Juan, 2008. "Crime and punishment in the "American Dream"," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1564-1584, July.
    3. Alexander Granberg & Victor Suslov & Larisa Melnikova, 1998. "Equilibrium, kernel, integration in the multiregional system under liberalization of external trade," ERSA conference papers ersa98p127, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Arnold, Volker & Hübner, Marion, 2010. "Income redistribution and criminality in a growing economy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 338-344, December.
    5. Granberg Alexander & Kolomak Evgeniya & Suslov Victor, 1998. "Russian 'Macro-Regions': Economic Integration and Interaction with the World Economy," EERC Working Paper Series 96-132e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    6. Saha, Atanu & Poole, Graham, 2000. "The economics of crime and punishment: An analysis of optimal penalty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 191-196, August.

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