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Entrepreneurship, saving and social mobility

  • Vincenzo Quadrini

This paper examines entrepreneurship in order to analyze, first, the degree to which the opportunity to start or own a business affects the household's saving behavior and the implication of this behavior for the distribution of wealth and, second, the relationship between the extent of entrepreneurship in the economy and socioeconomic mobility, that is, the movement of families across wealth classes over time. First, a number of stylized facts based on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) are outlined. They show relevant differences in asset holdings and wealth mobility between entrepreneurs - economic agents that own a business - and workers. Second, a dynamic general equilibrium model of income and wealth distribution with an explicit entrepreneurial choice is developed. The model is calibrated to match the key features of the data, and it is then used to obtain an estimate of the quantitative importance for capital accumulation and wealth concentration of households that undertake entrepreneurial activities, via their different microeconomic behavior. Through the modeling of the entrepreneurial activities, the model economy developed in this study generates a stationary distribution of wealth with a degree of concentration that accounts for the inequality observed in the U. S. economy. The model also successfully replicates the main patterns of socioeconomic mobility in which entrepreneurs experience higher upward mobility than workers.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics with number 116.

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Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:116
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  1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  2. Gentry William M. & Hubbard R. Glenn, 2004. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-57, August.
  3. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  4. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
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  9. Christopher D Carroll, 1997. "Why Do the Rich Save So Much?," Economics Working Paper Archive 388, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
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  11. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1991. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 211-35, April.
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  15. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  17. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
  18. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
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