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The Dynamics of Wealth and Income Distribution in a Neoclassical Growth Model

We examine the evolution of the distributions of wealth and income in a Ramsey model in which agents differ in their initial capital endowment and where the labor supply is endogenous. The assumption that the utility function is homogeneous in consumption and leisure implies that the macroeconomic equilibrium is independent of the distribution of wealth and allows us to fully characterize income and wealth dynamics. We find non-degenerate longrun distributions of wealth and income. The model shows that (i) the initial level of aggregate capital is an essential determinant of whether inequality increases or decreases during the transition to the steady state; (ii) temporary shocks to the stock of capital have long-run effects on the distribution of wealth even if they do not affect the stationary aggregate variables; (iii) income inequality need not move together with wealth inequality if factor shares change during the transition.

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Paper provided by Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France in its series IDEP Working Papers with number 0604.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision: Jul 2006
Handle: RePEc:iep:wpidep:0604
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  1. Ghiglino, Christian & Sorger, Gerhard, 2002. "Poverty Traps, Indeterminacy, and the Wealth Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 120-139, July.
  2. Bliss, Christopher, 2004. "Koopmans recursive preferences and income convergence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 124-139, July.
  3. Ortigueira, Salvador & Santos, Manuel S., 2002. "Equilibrium Dynamics in a Two-Sector Model with Taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 99-119, July.
  4. Caselli, F. & Ventura, J., 1996. "A Representative Consumer Theory of Distribution," Working papers 96-11, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Stephen Turnovsky, 2005. "Growth and Income Inequality: A Canonical Model," Working Papers UWEC-2006-04-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
  6. Guvenen, Fatih, 2006. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: A macroeconomic perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1451-1472, October.
  7. Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2000. "Fiscal policy, elastic labor supply, and endogenous growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 185-210, February.
  8. Ladron-de-Guevara, Antonio & Ortigueira, Salvador & Santos, Manuel S., 1997. "Equilibrium dynamics in two-sector models of endogenous growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 115-143, January.
  9. John Laitner & Dan Silverman, 2005. "Estimating Life-Cycle Parameters from Consumption Behavior at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 11163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey Rosen, 1992. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," Working Papers 682, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. Sergio T. Rebelo, 1990. "Long Run Policy Analysis and Long Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 3325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Yann Algan & Arnaud Cheron & Jean-Olivier Hairault & Francois Langot, 2003. "Wealth Effect on Labor Market Transitions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(1), pages 156-178, January.
  13. Sorger, Gerhard, 2002. "On the Long-Run Distribution of Capital in the Ramsey Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 226-243, July.
  14. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2000. "Resuscitating Real Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 7534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Antonio Ladron de Guevara & Salvador Ortigueira & Manuel Santos, 1995. "A Two-Sector Model of Endogenous Growth with Leisure," Working Papers 9503, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  16. Becker, Robert A. & Foias, Ciprian, 1987. "A characterization of Ramsey equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 173-184, February.
  17. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 382-97, July.
  18. Zabalza, Antoni, 1983. "The CES Utility Function, Non-Linear Budget Constraints and Labour Supply: Results on Female Participation and Hours," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(37), pages 312-30, June.
  19. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  20. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  21. Ing-Haw Cheng & Eric French, 2000. "The effect of the run-up in the stock market on labor supply," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 48-65.
  22. Cowell, F.A., 2000. "Measurement of inequality," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 87-166 Elsevier.
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