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The Effect of Aspirations, Habits, and Social Security on the Distribution of Wealth

In this paper, we analyze how the introduction of habits and aspirations affects the distribution of wealth when individuals' labor productivity is subject to idiosyncratic shocks and bequests arise from a joy-of-giving motive. In the presence of either bequests or aspirations, labor income shocks are transmitted intergenerationally and this transmission, together with the contemporaneous income shocks, determines the stationary distribution of wealth. We show that the introduction of aspirations increases both the intragenerational variability of wealth and the corresponding degree of intergenerational mobility. The opposite result holds when habits are introduced. Finally, we discuss how aspirations and habits interact with the redistributive features of an unfunded social security system.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 761.08.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:761.08
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  1. Abel, A.B., 1990. "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation And Catching Up With The Joneses," Weiss Center Working Papers 1-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  2. Andrew B. Abel, 1998. "Risk Premia and Term Premia in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 6683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. de la Croix, David & Michel, Philippe, 1997. "Optimal growth when tastes are inherited," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1997012, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Jun 1997.
  4. Donald Cox & Serena Ng & Andreas Waldkirch, 2000. "Intergenerational Linkages in Consumption Behavior," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1791, Econometric Society, revised 08 Nov 2000.
  5. Sexauer, Martin & Kleiber, Christian & Wälde, Klaus, 2005. "Bequests, taxation and the distribution of wealth in a general equilibrium model," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 61, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
  6. Alonso-Carrera, Jaime & Caballe, Jordi & Raurich, Xavier, 2005. "Growth, habit formation, and catching-up with the Joneses," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1665-1691, August.
  7. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2007. "Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 813-836, 04.
  8. Cass, David, 1972. "On capital overaccumulation in the aggregative, neoclassical model of economic growth: A complete characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 200-223, April.
  9. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  10. Abel, Andrew B, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1079-97, September.
  11. Davies, James B, 1986. "Does Redistribution Reduce Inequality?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 538-59, October.
  12. de la Croix, David, 1996. "The Dynamics of Bequeathed Tastes," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1996004, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  13. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1997. "Comparison Utility in a Growth Model," NBER Working Papers 6138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
  15. Diaz, Antonia & Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2003. "Precautionary savings and wealth distribution under habit formation preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1257-1291, September.
  16. 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.
  17. Mohamed Jellal & Francois-Charles Wolff, 2002. "Altruistic Bequests with Inherited Tastes," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business, and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 1(2), pages 95-113, August.
  18. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S151-82, July.
  19. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:12 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. de la Croix, David, 1996. "Economic development and convergence clubs: the role of inherited tastes and human capital," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1996024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Oct 1996.
  21. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2004. "Consumption Externalities, Habit Formation and Equilibrium Efficiency," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(2), pages 231-251, 06.
  22. Jordi Caballé & Luisa Fuster, 2000. "Pay-as-you-go social security and the distribution of bequests," Economics Working Papers 468, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  23. Jordi Caballé & Luisa Fuster, 2003. "Pay-as-you-go Social Security and the Distribution of Altruistic Transfers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 541-567.
  24. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  25. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
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