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Distributional Effects of Growth and the Elasticity of Substitution

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  • Marianne Saam

Abstract

Reforms that promote economic growth have also an impact on the distribution of capital and income. This paper considers the effect of a rise in the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor. It uses the normalized CES function introduced by Klump and de La Grandville. A reform that raises the elasticity of substitution may have an immediate impact on wages. Dynamic effects are studied in the Ramsey model with heterogenous agents by Caselli and Ventura. Two results on a trade-off between growth and equality are obtained: First, divergence in the capital distribution may occur during growth if a low elasticity of substitution is combined with a high profit share or high risk aversion. Simulations show that a small rise in the elasticity of substitution may reinforce this divergence. Second, a higher elasticity of substitution leads to higher income in the future for the whole population, but sometimes at the cost of an absolute decline in present wages. The existence of a trade-off between growth and equality depends crucially on the choice of the point of normalization.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne Saam, 2004. "Distributional Effects of Growth and the Elasticity of Substitution," DEGIT Conference Papers c009_031, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  • Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c009_031
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    File URL: http://degit.sam.sdu.dk/papers/degit_09/C009_031.pdf
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    5. Glachant, Jerome & Vellutini, Charles, 2002. "Quantifying the relationship between wealth distribution and aggregate growth in the Ramsey model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 237-241, January.
    6. Winford H. Masanjala & Chris Papageorgiou, 2004. "The Solow model with CES technology: nonlinearities and parameter heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 171-201.
    7. Olivier de La Grandville & Rainer Klump, 2000. "Economic Growth and the Elasticity of Substitution: Two Theorems and Some Suggestions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 282-291, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marianne Saam, 2005. "Openness To Trade as a Determinant of the Elasticity of Substitution between Capital and Labor," DEGIT Conference Papers c010_013, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    2. Juha Kilponen & Matti Viren, 2010. "Why do growth rates differ? Evidence from cross-country data on private sector production," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 311-328, July.

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