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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
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  1. Huw Lloyd-Ellis & Dan Bernhardt, 2000. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 147-168.
  2. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & James Sefton & Martin Weale, 1999. "Simulating the Transmission of Wealth Inequity via Bequests," NBER Working Papers 7183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
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  11. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2002. "On the Rise and Fall of Class Societies," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-173, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
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  16. 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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