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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Christian Kleiber & Martin Sexauer & Klaus Wälde, 2006. "Bequests, Taxation and the Distribution of Wealth in a General Equilibrium Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 1723, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. 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).
  6. Jellal, Mohamed & wolff, François charles, 2002. "Altruistic bequests with inherited tastes," MPRA Paper 38447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Andrew B. Abel, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching up with the Joneses," NBER Working Papers 3279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Josep Pijoan-Mas 2 & Antonia Díaz & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2001. "Habit Formation: Inplications For The Wealth Distribution," Economics Working Papers we015114, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  11. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Carroll, Christopher D & Overland, Jody & Weil, David N, 1997. " Comparison Utility in a Growth Model," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 339-67, December.
  13. 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.
  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. 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).
  16. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2004. "Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 641.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  17. Donald Cox & Serena Ng & Andreas Waldkirch, 2000. "Intergenerational Linkages in Consumption Behavior," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 482, Boston College Department of Economics.
  18. 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.
  19. Andrew B. Abel, 1985. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 1664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Abel, Andrew B., 1999. "Risk premia and term premia in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 3-33, February.
  21. 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.
  22. Davies, James B, 1986. "Does Redistribution Reduce Inequality?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 538-59, October.
  23. David DE LA CROIX & Philippe MICHEL, 2001. "Altruism and Self-Restraint," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 63-64, pages 233-259.
  24. 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.
  25. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
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