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Dynamic Efficiency in the Gifts Economy

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  • Stephen A. O'Connell
  • Stephen P. Zeldes

Abstract

In the standard analysis of an overlapping generations economy with gifts from children to parents, each generation takes the actions of all other generations as given. The resulting "simultaneous moves" equilibrium is dynamically inefficient. In reality, however, parents precede children in time and realize that children will respond to higher parental saving by reducing their gifts. Incorporating this feature lowers the effective return to saving, resulting in lower steady state capital accumulation. For a broad class of gift economies, we show that the steady state capital stock in the gifts model must be on the efficient side of the golden rule. The analysis therefore overturns the standard presumption of dynamic inefficiency in the gift economy. This result reestablishes the potential relevance of the gift model to the U.S. economy, renders moot an important part of the debate on Ricardian Equivalence, extends the recent literature on the effects of implicit taxation on capital accumulation, and provides a motivation for the presence of a Social Security type system that unconditionally transfers resources from young to old.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen A. O'Connell & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1993. "Dynamic Efficiency in the Gifts Economy," NBER Working Papers 4318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4318
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
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    7. Stephen A. O'Connell & Stephen P. Zeldes, "undated". "Ponzi Games and Ricardian Equivalence," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 12-87, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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    10. O'Connell, Stephen A & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1988. "Rational Ponzi Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(3), pages 431-450, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    2. Michel, Philippe & Thibault, Emmanuel & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2006. "Intergenerational altruism and neoclassical growth models," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    3. Soares, Jorge, 2015. "Borrowing constraints, parental altruism and welfare," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 1-20.
    4. John Geanakoplos & Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, "undated". "Social Security Money's Worth," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-20, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. Blackburn, Keith & Cipriani, Giam Pietro, 2005. "Intergenerational transfers and demographic transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 191-214, October.
    6. Zhang, Jie & Quigley, Neil & Evans, Lewis, 2000. "An Essay on the Concept of Dynamic Efficiency and its Implications for Assessments of the Benefits from Regulation and Price Control," Working Paper Series 3911, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    7. Atsue Mizushima & Keiichi Koda, 2007. "Risk Sharing and Growth in the Gifts Economy," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 07-02, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    8. Jorge Soares, 2010. "Welfare Impact Of A Ban On Child Labor," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 1048-1064, October.
    9. Johan Lagerl–f, 2004. "Efficiency-enhancing signalling in the Samaritan's dilemma," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 55-69, January.
    10. Johan Lagerlöf, 1999. "Incomplete Information in the Samaritan's Dilemma: The Dilemma (Almost) Vanishes," CIG Working Papers FS IV 99-12, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG), revised Jun 2002.
    11. Wigger, Berthold U., 2001. "Gifts, Bequests, and Growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 121-129, January.
    12. James B. Bullard & Steven Russell, 1998. "Monetary steady states in a low real interest rate economy," Working Papers 1994-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    13. Rebelein, Robert P., 2005. "Intergenerational Strategic Behavior and Crowding Out in a General Equilibrium Model," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 74, Vassar College Department of Economics.
    14. Bullard, James & Russell, Steven, 1999. "An empirically plausible model of low real interest rates and unbacked government debt," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 477-508, December.
    15. Zhao Kai, 2011. "Social Security, Differential Fertility, and the Dynamics of the Earnings Distribution," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-31, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical

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