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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. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2004. "Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive," Working Papers 136, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. A. Abel, 2010. "Asset prices under habit formation and catching up with the Jones," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1395, David K. Levine.
  3. 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).
  4. de la Croix, David, 2001. "Growth dynamics and education spending: The role of inherited tastes and abilities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1415-1438, August.
  5. de La Croix, D. & Michel, P., 1997. "Optimal Growth When Tastes Are Inherited," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 97a21, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  6. Andrew B. Abel, 1985. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 1664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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..
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Christopher D Carroll & Jody Overland & David N Weil, 1997. "Comparison Utility in a Growth Model," Economics Working Paper Archive 387, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  12. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  13. 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.
  14. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballe & Xavier Raurich, 2001. "Consumption Externalities, Habit Formation, and Equilibrium Efficiency," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 499.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  15. Andrew B. Abel, 1998. "Risk Premia and Term Premia in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 6683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Andreas Waldkirch & Serena Ng & Donald Cox, 2004. "Intergenerational Linkages in Consumption Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  18. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:12 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. 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.
  20. Jellal, Mohamed & wolff, François charles, 2002. "Altruistic bequests with inherited tastes," MPRA Paper 38447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Davies, James B, 1986. "Does Redistribution Reduce Inequality?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 538-59, October.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  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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