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A Dynamic Incentive-Based Argument for Conditional Transfers

  • Dilip Mookherjee


    (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University)

  • Debraj Ray


    (Department of Economics, New York University)

We compare the long-run e ects of replacing unconditional transfers to the poor by transfers conditional on the education of children. Unlike the Mirrlees income taxation model, the distribution of skill evolves endogenously. Human capital accumulation follows the Freeman-Ljungqvist-Mookherjee-Ray OLG model with missing capital markets and dynastic bequest motives. Conditional transfers (funded by taxes on earnings of the skilled) are shown to induce higher long run output per capita and (both utilitarian and Rawlsian) welfare, owing to their superior effect on skill accumulation incentives. The result is established both with two skill levels, and a continuum of occupations.

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series with number dp-170.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:iedwpr:dp-170
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  1. Mookherjee, Dilip & Ray, Debraj, 2002. "Persistent Inequality," Discussion Paper 57, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Bertrand, Marianne & Shafir, Eldar & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2004. "A Behavioral Economics View of Poverty," Scholarly Articles 2907437, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Ljungqvist, Lars, 1993. "Economic underdevelopment : The case of a missing market for human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-239, April.
  4. Dilip Mokherjee & Stefan Napel, 2006. "Intergenerational Mobility and Macroeconomic History Dependence," Discussion Papers 1, Aboa Centre for Economics.
  5. Thurow, Lester C, 1974. "Cash Versus In-Kind Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 190-95, May.
  6. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-75, October.
  7. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Parker, Susan W., 2001. "Conditional cash transfers and their impact on child work and schooling," FCND discussion papers 123, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak & Benabou, Roland & Mookherjee, Dilip (ed.), 2006. "Understanding Poverty," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195305203.
  9. Debraj Ray, 2006. "On the dynamics of inequality," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 291-306, October.
  10. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
  11. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "Equilibrium Income Inequality among Identical Agents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1047-64, October.
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