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Neoclassical Inequality

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Abstract

In a model with a worker-capitalist dichotomy, we show that the relationship between inequality (measured as a ratio of incomes for the two types) and growth is complicated; zero growth generally lowers inequality, except under extreme parameterizations. In particular, the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor in production needs to be considerably greater than 1 in order for income inequality be higher with zero growth. If this condition is not met, factor prices adjust strongly causing the fall in the return to capital (the rise in wages) to reduce income inequality. Our results extend to models with endogenous growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel R. Carroll & Eric R. Young, 2017. "Neoclassical Inequality," Working Papers 201432R2, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwq:143202
    DOI: 10.26509/frbc-wp-201432r2
    Note: *First version posted December 2014 under the title, “The Piketty Transition”; a revised paper of the same title was posted in April 2015. This paper is an expanded version of part of the original paper.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. O. S. Sukharev & E. N. Voronchikhina, 2020. "Structural growth policy in Russia: Resources, technology-intensity, risk, and industrialisation," Journal of New Economy, Ural State University of Economics, vol. 21(1), pages 29-52, March.
    2. Daniel Carroll & Jim Dolmas & Eric Young, 2021. "The Politics of Flat Taxes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 39, pages 174-201, January.
    3. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Fracisco, 2019. "Savings and growth in neoclassical growth models: A comment on “Is Piketty’s “second law of capitalism” fundamental?”," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 128-131.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    growth; elasticity of substitution; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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