IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Fearing the Worst: The Importance of Uncertainty for Inequality

Listed author(s):
  • Keith Blackburn
  • David Chivers

We present an overlapping generations model in which aspirationalagents face uncertainty about the returns to human capital. Investment in human capital requires external funding, implying a probability of bankruptcy that is greater the lower the human capital endowment of an agent. We show that agents with sufficiently low human capital endowments may experience such a strong influence of loss aversion that they abstain from human capital investment. We further show how this behaviour may be transmitted through successive generations to cause initial inequalities to persist. These results do not rely on any capital market imperfections.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hummedia.manchester.ac.uk/schools/soss/cgbcr/discussionpapers/dpcgbcr182.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester in its series Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series with number 182.

as
in new window

Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:182
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Manchester M13 9PL

Phone: (0)161 275 4868
Fax: (0)161 275 4812
Web page: http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/economics/our-research/centre-for-growth-and-business-cycle-research/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Mezias, Stephen J., 1988. "Aspiration level effects: An empirical investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 389-400, December.
  2. Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 755-776.
  3. Rosenblatt-Wisch, Rina, 2008. "Loss aversion in aggregate macroeconomic time series," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1140-1159, October.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
  5. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1996. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints, and Portfolio Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 158-172, March.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
  7. Keith Blackburn & Dimitrios Varvarigos, 2008. "Human capital accumulation and output growth in a stochastic environment," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 36(3), pages 435-452, September.
  8. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
  9. Ulrich Schmidt & Horst Zank, 2005. "What is Loss Aversion?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 157-167, January.
  10. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
  11. Carroll, Christopher D & Kimball, Miles S, 1996. "On the Concavity of the Consumption Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 981-992, July.
  12. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Henry E. Siu, 2005. "Fluctuations in Convex Models of Endogenous Growth II: Business Cycle Properties," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 805-828, October.
  13. Foellmi, Reto & Rosenblatt-Wisch, Rina & Schenk-Hoppé, Klaus Reiner, 2011. "Consumption paths under prospect utility in an optimal growth model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 273-281, March.
  14. Durlauf, S.N., 1993. "Neighborhood Feedbacks, Endogenous Stratification, and Income Inequality," Working papers 9328, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
  16. Blackburn, Keith & Bose, Niloy, 2003. "A model of trickle-down through learning," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 445-466, January.
  17. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  18. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
  19. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
  20. Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
  21. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
  22. Thomas Langer & Martin Weber, 2001. "Prospect Theory, Mental Accounting, and Differences in Aggregated and Segregated Evaluation of Lottery Portfolios," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 716-733, May.
  23. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 23-45, Summer.
  24. Enrico Diecidue & Jeroen van de Ven, 2008. "Aspiration Level, Probability Of Success And Failure, And Expected Utility," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 683-700, May.
  25. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
  26. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1996. "Income Distribution, Communities, and the Quality of Public Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 135-164.
  27. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Human Capital Risk and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 709-744.
  28. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Henry E. Siu & Ennio Stacchetti, 2005. "Fluctuations in Convex Models of Endogenous Growth I: Growth Effects," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 780-804, October.
  29. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  30. de Hek, Paul A, 1999. "On Endogenous Growth under Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(3), pages 727-744, August.
  31. Stefan Krasa & Anne P. Villamil, 2000. "Optimal Contracts when Enforcement Is a Decision Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 119-134, January.
  32. Holthausen, Duncan M, 1981. "A Risk-Return Model with Risk and Return Measured as Deviations from a Target Return," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 182-188, March.
  33. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
  34. John Payne, 2005. "It is Whether You Win or Lose: The Importance of the Overall Probabilities of Winning or Losing in Risky Choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 5-19, January.
  35. Douglas Gale & Martin Hellwig, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 647-663.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:182. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marianne Sensier)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.