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Capital Markets, Information Aggregation and Inequality: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Grüner, Hans Peter

Abstract

In most industrialized economies, financial wealth is distributed far more unequally than income. According to Wolff (2007) more than half of the American households possess almost no productive capital while realizing about 20 percent of national income. This mismatch poses a problem for the efficient aggregation of consumer needs on capital markets. Individuals use information about their own preferences as consumers to identify profitable investments. Under certain conditions, this behaviour efficiently matches future demand with productive capacity, thus replacing future markets for consumer goods. However, when wealth is distributed too unequally, capacity cannot match consumer needs. I present some first experimental evidence in favour of consumption driven investment behaviour based on real portfolio choices and self-reported preferences about consumer goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Grüner, Hans Peter, 2008. "Capital Markets, Information Aggregation and Inequality: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6750
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. DAVIES, JAMES B & Shorrocks, Anthony & Sandstrom, Susanna & WOLFF, EDWARD N, 2007. "The World Distribution of Household Wealth," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt3jv048hx, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
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    5. Funk, Peter, 1998. "Satiation and underdevelopment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 319-341.
    6. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998 (series updated to 2000 available)," NBER Working Papers 8467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. HansPeter Grüner & Rüdiger Schils, 2007. "The political Economy of Wealth and Interest," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1403-1422, October.
    8. 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.
    9. Funk,Peter, 1993. "The direction of technological change," Discussion Paper Serie A 393, University of Bonn, Germany.
    10. Gruner, Hans Peter, 2003. "Redistribution as a selection device," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 194-216, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hans Peter Grüner, 2009. "Kapitalbeteiligung von Mitarbeitern. Eine Bewertung der jüngsten Vorschläge," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(2), pages 175-188, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    capital markets; Consumption driven investment; information aggregation; wealth distribution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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