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Occupational Diversity And Endogenous Inequality

  • Dilip Mookherjee

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Debraj Ray

    (1Boston University and New York University)

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 WP2006-055.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2006-055
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Web page: http://www.bu.edu/econ/

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  1. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  2. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Persistent Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 369-393, 04.
  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.
  4. Dan Bernhardt & Huw Lloyd-Ellis, 1993. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Working Papers 893, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  5. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 2000. "Endogenous Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 743-59, October.
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  7. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Is Equality Stable?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 253-259, May.
  8. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," NBER Working Papers 3927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Luisa Fuster, 2000. "Capital Accumulation in an Economy with Dynasties and Uncertain Lifetimes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 650-674, October.
  10. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  15. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "Equilibrium Income Inequality among Identical Agents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1047-64, October.
  16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  17. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
  18. 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.
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