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

  • Fernando Alvarez

    (University of Chicago and Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)

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)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/redy.1998.0052
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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 2 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 65-103

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:2:y:1999:i:1:p:65-103
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 151-72, April.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  3. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, . "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 85-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 S38-70, October.
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