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When does heterogeneity matter?

  • Yi Wen
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How do movements in the distribution of income affect the macroeconomy? Krusell and Smith (1998) analyzed this question in a neoclassical growth model, and their results show that the representative-agent assumption provides a good approximation for aggregate behaviors of heterogeneous agents. This paper extends their analysis to a cash-in-advance model with heterogeneous money demand. It is shown that movements in the distribution of monetary income can have significant impact on the macroeconomy. For example, the dynamic responses of aggregate output to monetary shocks behave very differently from those of a representative agent; the welfare costs of moderate inflation are much higher than previously thought, up to 20% of consumption when the inequality of cash distribution is sufficiently large. This is in sharp contrast to the findings of Cooley and Hansen (1989) and Lucas (2000) based on representative-agent models.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-024.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-024
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  4. Svensson, Lars E O, 1985. "Money and Asset Prices in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 919-44, October.
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  13. Julio J. Rotemberg, 1982. "A Monetary Equilibrium Model with Transactions Costs," NBER Working Papers 0978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ireland, Peter N, 1996. "The Role of Countercyclical Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 704-23, August.
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  25. Robert J. Hodrick & Narayana Kocherlakota & Deborah Lucas, 1989. "The Variability of Velocity in Cash-In-Advance Models," NBER Working Papers 2891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  28. Jonathan Chiu, 2007. "Endogenously Segmented Asset Market in an Inventory Theoretic Model of Money Demand," Working Papers 07-46, Bank of Canada.
  29. Makoto Nirei & Wataru Souma, 2007. "A Two Factor Model Of Income Distribution Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(3), pages 440-459, 09.
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