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

  • Jordi Caballé
  • Ana I. Moro-Egido

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 Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 352.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:352
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  9. 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.
  10. 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).
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  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. de la Croix, David, 1996. "The dynamics of bequeathed tastes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 89-96, October.
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  22. 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.
  23. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  24. de la Croix, David & Michel, Philippe, 1997. "Altruism and self-refrain," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1998010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Apr 1998.
  25. 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.
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