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Persistent Inequality

  • Dilip Mookherjee
  • Debraj Ray

When human capital accumulation generates pecuniary externalities across professions, and capital markets are imperfect, persistent inequality in utility and consumption is inevitable in any steady state. This is true irrespective of the degree of divisibility in investments. However, divisibility (or fineness of occupational structure) has implications for both the multiplicity and Pareto-efficiency of steady states. Indivisibilities generate a continuum of inefficient and efficient steady states with varying per capita income. On the other hand, perfect divisibility typically implies the existence of a unique steady state distribution which is Pareto-efficient. Copyright 2003, Wiley-Blackwell.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/1467-937X.00248
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 70 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 369-393

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:70:y:2003:i:2:p:369-393
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  1. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
  2. Bandyopadhyay, Debasis, 1997. "Distribution of Human Capital and Economic Growth," Working Papers 157, Department of Economics, The University of Auckland.
  3. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1998. "Endogenous Inequality," Discussion Papers 1238, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Majumdar, Mukul & Mitra, Tapan, 1982. "Intertemporal allocation with a non-convex technology: The aggregative framework," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 101-136, June.
  6. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2000. "Contractual Structure and Wealth Accumulation," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 107, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  7. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Persistent Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 369-393.
  9. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  10. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2002. "The Rise of Mass Consumption Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1035-1070, October.
  11. Ljungqvist, Lars, 1993. "Economic underdevelopment : The case of a missing market for human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-239, April.
  12. Dechert, W. Davis & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1983. "A complete characterization of optimal growth paths in an aggregated model with a non-concave production function," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 332-354, December.
  13. Maoz, Yishay D & Moav, Omer, 1999. "Intergenerational Mobility and the Process of Development," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 677-97, October.
  14. Mukul Majumdar & Tapan Mitra, 1983. "Dynamic Optimization with a Non-Convex Technology: The Case of a Linear Objective Function," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 143-151.
  15. Moav, Omer, 2002. "Income distribution and macroeconomics: the persistence of inequality in a convex technology framework," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 187-192, April.
  16. Baland, Jean-Marie & Ray, Debraj, 1991. "Why does asset inequality affect unemployment? A study of the demand composition problem," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 69-92, January.
  17. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  18. Ray, Debraj & Streufert, Peter A, 1993. "Dynamic Equilibria with Unemployment Due to Undernourishment," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 3(1), pages 61-85, January.
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  20. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  21. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Is Equality Stable?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 253-259, May.
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