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The Distribution of Wealth with Imperfect Altruism

  • DUTTA, Jayasri

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, UK)

  • MICHEL, Philippe

    (IUF, GREQAM, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France and CORE, Université catholique de Louvain, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

In this paper, we study the distribution of wealth in an economy with infinitely lived families. Individual generations of each family may or may not be altruistic. This is represented as a preference shock which follows a first-order Markov process within each family, a feature representing imperfect altruism. Altruistic individuals care about the welfare of their children and are likely to leave bequests; selfish ones do not. This results in a non-trivial distribution of wealth among families at any point in time. We study an economy with a risk-free, linear production technology and show that a stationary distribution of wealth exists. This distribution is discrete and approximates the pareto distribution under additional restrictions. We also charac- terize conditions on the production technology which yields perpetual growth with increasing inequality.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 1995058.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 1995
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:1995058
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  1. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1987. "Equilibrium existence in an overlapping generations model with altruistic preferences," Working Papers 356, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  3. Jones, Larry E & Manuelli, Rodolfo E, 1990. "A Convex Model of Equilibrium Growth: Theory and Policy Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1008-38, October.
  4. Muller, Walter III & Woodford, Michael, 1988. "Determinacy of equilibrium in stationary economies with both finite and infinite lived consumers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 255-290, December.
  5. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  6. Andrew B. Abel & B. Douglas Bernheim, 1992. "Fiscal Policy With Impure Intergenerational Altruism," NBER Working Papers 2613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  8. Laitner, John, 1993. "Long-run equilibria with borrowing constraints and altruism," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 65-96.
  9. Benveniste, L M & Scheinkman, J A, 1979. "On the Differentiability of the Value Function in Dynamic Models of Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 727-32, May.
  10. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  11. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  12. Mirman, Leonard J. & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1975. "On optimal growth under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 329-339, December.
  13. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  14. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin S & Peled, Dan, 1985. "The Distribution of Wealth and Welfare in the Presence of Incomplete Annuity Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 789-806, August.
  15. Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
  16. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
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