IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Wealth Distribution and Interest Rates: Empirical Evidence for the US


  • Grüner, Hans Peter


Capital market theory predicts that the wealth distribution should affect interest rates. This Paper empirically analyses the relationship between the wealth distribution and interest rates in the US. We use data on wealth inequality from various sources. Measures of wealth inequality are linked positively to the real commercial paper rate and to the real rate on government securities. This result is consistent with predictions from capital market equilibrium models with moral hazard. Accordingly, rich individuals can only commit credibly to providing effort if the rate of return is not too high. When the rich are poorer, the rate of return has to be lower in order to guarantee entrepreneurial effort. Capital demand will therefore fall as inequality is reduced. The capital market is in equilibrium at a lower rate of return.

Suggested Citation

  • Grüner, Hans Peter, 2001. "Wealth Distribution and Interest Rates: Empirical Evidence for the US," CEPR Discussion Papers 3106, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3106

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 2002. "Time-varying risk premia and the cost of capital: An alternative implication of the Q theory of investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 31-66, January.
    2. Cochrane, John H., 1991. "Volatility tests and efficient markets : A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 463-485, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    interest rates; wealth distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3106. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.