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Heterogeneity, Stratification and Growth

  • Bénabou, Roland

This paper examines how economic stratification affects inequality and growth over time. It studies economies where heterogenous agents interact through local public goods or externalities (school funding, neighbourhood effects) and economy-wide linkages (complementary skills, knowledge spillovers). It compares growth and welfare when families are stratified into homogeneous local communities and when they remain integrated. Segregation tends to minimize the losses from a given amount of heterogeneity, but integration reduces heterogeneity faster. Society may thus face an intertemporal trade-off: mixing leads to slower growth in the short run, but to higher output or even productivity growth in the long run. This trade-off occurs in particular when comparing local and national funding of education, which correspond to special cases of segregation and integration. More generally, the paper identifies the key parameters which determine which structure is more efficient over short and long horizons. Particularly important are the degrees of complementarity in local and in global interactions.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 815.

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Date of creation: Aug 1993
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:815
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  1. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," NBER Working Papers 3530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Streufert, Peter, 2000. " The Effect of Underclass Social Isolation on Schooling Choice," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(4), pages 461-82.
  3. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 1992. "Human capital, investment and migration in an integrated Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 677-684, April.
  4. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
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  7. Steven N. Durlauf, 1992. "A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tamura, Robert, 1992. "Efficient equilibrium convergence: Heterogeneity and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 355-376, December.
  9. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
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  11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  12. Benabou, Roland, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-52, August.
  13. Glenn C. Loury, 1976. "A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences," Discussion Papers 225, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Tamura, Robert, 1991. "Income Convergence in an Endogenous Growth Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 522-40, June.
  15. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1992. "Income Distribution, Communities and the Quality of Public Education: A Policy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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