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The distribution of wealth and redistributive policies

  • Jess Benhabib
  • Alberto Bisin

In this paper we study theoretically the dynamics of the distribution of wealth in an Overlapping Generation economy with bequest and various forms of redistributive taxation. We characterize the transitional dynamics of the wealth distribution and as well as the stationary distribution. We show that, in our economy, the stationary wealth distribution is a power law, a Pareto distribution in particular. Wealth is less concentrated (the Gini coefficient is lower) for both higher capital income taxes and estate taxes, but the marginal effect of capital income taxes is much stronger than the effect of estate taxes. Finally, we characterize optimal redistributive taxes with respect to an utilitarian social welfare measure. Social welfare is maximized short of minimal wealth inequality and with zero estate taxes.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 122247000000001162.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:122247000000001162
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  1. F. Clementi & M. Gallegati, 2004. "Power Law Tails in the Italian Personal Income Distribution," Papers cond-mat/0408067, arXiv.org.
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  4. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2001. "Identifying The Role Of Cognitive Ability In Explaining The Level Of And Change In The Return To Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 1-12, February.
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  13. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-21.
  14. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  15. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1972. "Relation between a social welfare function and the gini index of income inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 98-100, February.
  16. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
  17. Ofer Malcai & Ofer Biham & Peter Richmond & Sorin Solomon, 2002. "Theoretical Analysis and Simulations of the Generalized Lotka-Volterra Model," Papers cond-mat/0208514, arXiv.org.
  18. Marco Cagetti & Mariacristina deNardi, 2000. "Entrepreneurship, Bequests, and the Distribution of Wealth," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1226, Econometric Society.
  19. Makoto Nirei & Wataru Souma, 2007. "A Two Factor Model Of Income Distribution Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(3), pages 440-459, 09.
  20. Bjerke, Kjeld, 1970. "Income and Wage Distributions-Part I: A Survey of the Literature," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 16(3), pages 235-52, September.
  21. Chiaki Moriguchi & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Income Concentration in Japan, 1886-2002: Evidence from Income Tax Statistics," NBER Working Papers 12558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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