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Income and wealth distribution in a simple model of growth

  • Gerhard Sorger


    (Department of Economics, Queen Mary & Westfield College, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK)

This paper studies a deterministic one-sector growth model with a constant returns to scale production function and endogenous labor supply. It is shown that the distribution of capital among the agents has an effect on the level of per-capita output. There exists a continuum of stationary equilibria with different levels of per-capita output. If the elasticity of intertemporal substitution is large, a higher output level can be achieved when income inequality is great, that is, when the income distribution is strongly dispersed. If the elasticity of intertemporal substitution is low, the reverse relation holds. The paper shows that countries with identical production technologies and identical preferences may have different GDP levels because wealth is distributed differently among their inhabitants.

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Article provided by Springer & Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET) in its journal Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 16 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 23-42

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:16:y:2000:i:1:p:23-42
Note: Received: January 29, 1999; revised version: October 4, 1999
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  1. Benhabib, J. & Farmer, R.E.A, 1991. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Papers 165, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  2. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
  3. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  6. 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.
  7. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Eriksson, Clas, 1996. "Economic growth with endogenous labour supply," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 533-544, November.
  9. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  10. Robert A. Becker, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-382.
  11. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  12. Benhabib, Jess, 1998. "Introduction to Sunspots in Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-6, July.
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