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Credit market imperfections, income distribution, and capital accumulation

  • Joydeep Bhattacharya

    (Department of Economics, State University of New York at Buffalo, Fronczak Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA)

This paper builds a model in which the distribution of income matters for capital formation, and uses it to analyze the effects of a simple policy intended to create a more equal distribution of income on the severity of certain credit market imperfections and, through this channel, capital accumulation. A neoclassical growth model is developed in which some capital investment must be externally financed, and external finance is subject to a standard costly state verification (CSV) problem. In particular, some fraction of the population is "capitalists", who have access to risky but high return capital production technologies. Successful capitalists leave bequests to their offspring, thereby permitting them to internally finance some fraction of their own investment projects. However some external finance is also required. This is provided by "workers" who save out of labor income. As is well known, the greater the capability of capitalists to provide internal finance, the less severe is the CSV problem. Thus bequests mitigate credit market frictions and, in that sense, promote financial market efficiency and capital accumulation. However, they also perpetrate income inequality. The structure is used to show that a policy that taxes the bequests of capitalists, and transfers the proceeds to workers, necessarily reduces the steady state capital stock. Indeed, when this effect is sufficiently strong, these redistributive tax/transfer schemes can reduce the total (wage plus transfer) incomes of workers, as well as their welfare. Thus some simple policies intended to redistribute income can be highly counterproductive.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 11 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 171-200

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:11:y:1997:i:1:p:171-200
Note: Received: June 3, 1996; revised version: February 4, 1997
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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1989. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Discussion Papers 877, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  3. Border, Kim C & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 525-40, October.
  4. Galor, O & Polemarchakis, H M, 1987. "Intertemporal Equilibrium and the Transfer Paradox," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 147-56, January.
  5. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  6. Williamson, Stephen D, 1987. "Costly Monitoring, Loan Contracts, and Equilibrium Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 135-45, February.
  7. Polemarchakis, H M, 1983. "On the Transer Paradox," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 749-60, October.
  8. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  9. Takatoshi Ito & Anne O. Krueger, 1992. "The Political Economy of Tax Reform, NBER-EASE Volume 1," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ito_92-2, December.
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