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Social Mobility: The Barro-Becker Children Meet the Laitner-Loury Dynasties

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  • Fernando Alvarez

    (University of Chicago and Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)

Abstract

I compare the predictions of two types of dynastic models for the persistence of wealth across generations: models that focus on uninsurable risk and intergenerational consumption smoothing but abstract from the fertility decision, such as Loury [1981] and Laitner [1992], and models without risk that focus on the fertility decision, such as Becker and Barro [1988]. I show that when both uninsurable risk and fertility decisions are present, a striking result obtains: wealthier parents have more children, but the transfer to each child is independent of wealth. Since this result is counterfactual, I also discuss extensions that can resurrect persistence. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Fernando Alvarez, 1999. "Social Mobility: The Barro-Becker Children Meet the Laitner-Loury Dynasties," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 65-103, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:2:y:1999:i:1:p:65-103
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.1998.0052
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Population Growth and Human Capital Investments: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 38-70, October.
    2. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    3. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education, Third Edition, pages 257-298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Becker, Robert & Boldrin, Michele & Jones, Ronald (ed.), 1993. "General Equilibrium, Growth, and Trade II," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 1, number 9780120846559.
    6. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fertility; intergenerational transfers; bequest; persistence; dynamic programming;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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