Credit Market Imperfections, Income Distribution, and Capital Accumulation
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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|Date of creation:||01 Jan 1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Economic Theory, January 1998, vol. 11 no. 1, pp. 171-200|
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