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Occupational Diversity and Endogenous Inequality

  • Dilip Mookherjee

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Debraj Ray

    ()

    (New York University and Instituto de An´alisis Econ´omico (CSIC))

A traditional view of markets is that they equalize wealth across individuals. A more recent literature suggests that markets are inherently disequalizing. A third viewpoint argues that initial history is crucial in determining whether inequalities persist or not. By constructing a theory of equilibrium investment allocation between human capital and financial assets in the presence of borrowing constraints, we address these views in a unified way. Two attributes of occupational diversity turn out to be central to our understanding: span, the range of training costs across occupations, and richness, the variety of different training costs contained within the span. The former is used to generate a necessary and sufficient condition for markets to be disequalizing, while the latter is shown to be directly connected to the question of history-dependence.

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2005-022.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2005-022
Contact details of provider: Postal: 270 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-353-4389
Fax: 617-353-4449
Web page: http://www.bu.edu/econ/

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  1. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
  2. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Piketty, Thomas, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 173-89, April.
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  7. Mookherjee, Dilip & Ray, Debraj, 2002. "Persistent Inequality," Discussion Paper 57, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  8. Lloyd-Ellis, Huw & Bernhardt, Dan, 2000. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 147-68, January.
  9. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1998. "Endogenous Inequality," Discussion Papers 1238, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2001. "On the Rise and Fall of Class Societies," Discussion Papers 1326, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 151-72, April.
  12. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  14. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  15. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Is Equality Stable?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 253-259, May.
  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.
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  18. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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