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Entrepreneurs, Managers and Inequality

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  • Lee, Sang Yoon Tim

Abstract

Since the 1980s, the U.S. income distribution has become considerably more concentrated toward the top while the wealth distribution has not. I argue that this can be accounted for by occupational shifts caused by the decline in tax progressivity. To show this, I construct a dynamic general equilibrium model of occupational choice which distinguishes between entrepreneurs, who run their own firms, and managers, who run publicly owned firms. Collateral constraints induce entrepreneurs to hold more wealth, while managers earn higher wages as a result of competitive assignments to firms. Feeding observed tax policy changes from 1970 to 2000 into the model, I find that (i) less progressive taxation increases the relative mass of managers in equilibrium, and explains approximately 30% of the observed increase in the concentrations of earnings and income without increasing that of wealth, and (ii) reverting to historical tax policies has only a negligible impact on consumption equivalent welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee, Sang Yoon Tim, 2012. "Entrepreneurs, Managers and Inequality," Working Papers 12-15, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mnh:wpaper:32435
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. De Nardi, Mariacristina & Giulio , Fella & Yang, Fang, 2016. "Piketty’s Book and Macro Models of Wealth Inequality," Chicago Fed Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    2. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2015. "Quantitative Models of Wealth Inequality: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 21106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:red:issued:16-340 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella, 2017. "Saving and Wealth Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 280-300, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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