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Credit Market Imperfections, Income Distribution, and Capital Accumulation

  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep

This paper builds a model in which the distribution of income matters for capital formation, and uses it to analyze the effects of a simple policy intended to create a more equal distribution of income on the severity of certain credit market imperfections and, through this channel, capital accumulation. A neoclassical growth model is developed in which some capital investment must be externally financed, and external finance is subject to a standard costly state verification (CSV) problem. In particular, some fraction of the population is "capitalists'', who have access to risky but high return capital production technologies. Successful capitalists leave bequests to their offspring, thereby permitting them to internally finance some fraction of their own investment projects. However some external finance is also required. This is provided by "workers'' who save out of labor income. As is well known, the greater the capability of capitalists to provide internal finance, the less severe is the CSV problem. Thus bequests mitigate credit market frictions and, in that sense, promote financial market efficiency and capital accumulation. However, they also perpetrate income inequality. The structure is used to show that a policy that taxes the bequests of capitalists, and transfers the proceeds to workers, necessarily reduces the steady state capital stock. Indeed, when this effect is sufficiently strong, these redistributive tax/transfer schemes can reduce the total (wage plus transfer) incomes of workers, as well as their welfare. Thus some simple policies intended to redistribute income can be highly counterproductive.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 5105.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economic Theory, January 1998, vol. 11 no. 1, pp. 171-200
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:5105
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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  1. Stephen D. Williamson, 1987. "Costly Monitoring, Loan Contracts, and Equilibrium Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(1), pages 135-145.
  2. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. repec:bla:restud:v:51:y:1984:i:3:p:393-414 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  5. Galor, O. & Polemarchakis, H.M., 1984. "Intertemporal equilibrium and the transfor paradox," CORE Discussion Papers 1984014, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Abhijit Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1989. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Discussion Papers 877, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. repec:bla:restud:v:54:y:1987:i:4:p:525-40 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Polemarchakis, H M, 1983. "On the Transer Paradox," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 749-60, October.
  9. Takatoshi Ito & Anne O. Krueger, 1992. "The Political Economy of Tax Reform, NBER-EASE Volume 1," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ito_92-2, December.
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