IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The distribution of wealth and redistributive policies

  • Jess Benhabib
  • Alberto Bisin


    (Department of Economics New York University)

In this paper we study theoretically the dynamics of the distribution of wealth in an Overlapping Generation economy with bequest and various forms of redistributive taxation. We characterize the transitional dynamics of the wealth distribution and as well as the stationary distribution. We show that, in our economy, the stationary wealth distribution is a power law, a Pareto distribution in particular. Wealth is less concentrated (the Gini coefficient is lower) for both higher capital income taxes and estate taxes, but the marginal effect of capital income taxes is much stronger than the effect of estate taxes. Finally, we characterize optimal redistributive taxes with respect to an utilitarian social welfare measure. Social welfare is maximized short of minimal wealth inequality and with zero estate taxes.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 368.

in new window

Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:368
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
Web page:

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. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  2. Angus Deaton & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Social Security and Inequality over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2003. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Canada, 1920-2000," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 99, McMaster University.
  4. Fabio Clementi & Mauro Gallegati, 2005. "Power Law Tails in the Italian Personal Income Distribution," Microeconomics 0505005, EconWPA.
  5. Chipman, John S., 1974. "The welfare ranking of Pareto distributions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 275-282, November.
  6. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2000. "Identifying the Role of Cognitive Ability in Explaining the Level of and Change in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 7820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Piketty, Thomas, 2001. "Income Inequality in France 1901-98," CEPR Discussion Papers 2876, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Chiaki Moriguchi & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Income Concentration in Japan, 1886-2002: Evidence from Income Tax Statistics," NBER Working Papers 12558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mariacristina deNardi, 2000. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0547, Econometric Society.
  10. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Marco Cagetti & Mariacristina De Nardi, 2006. "Entrepreneurship, Frictions, and Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 835-870, October.
  12. Newbery, David, 1970. "A theorem on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 264-266, September.
  13. Levy, Moshe, 2003. "Are rich people smarter?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 42-64, May.
  14. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2004. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1139, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Ofer Malcai & Ofer Biham & Peter Richmond & Sorin Solomon, 2002. "Theoretical Analysis and Simulations of the Generalized Lotka-Volterra Model," Papers cond-mat/0208514,
  16. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-21.
  17. Bjerke, Kjeld, 1970. "Income and Wage Distributions-Part I: A Survey of the Literature," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 16(3), pages 235-52, September.
  18. Morrisson, Christian, 2000. "Historical perspectives on income distribution: The case of Europe," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 217-260 Elsevier.
  19. Makoto Nirei & Wataru Souma, 2007. "A Two Factor Model Of Income Distribution Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(3), pages 440-459, 09.
  20. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1972. "Relation between a social welfare function and the gini index of income inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 98-100, February.
  21. Marco Cagetti & Mariacristina deNardi, 2000. "Entrepreneurship, Bequests, and the Distribution of Wealth," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1226, Econometric Society.
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:red:sed006:368. 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: (Christian Zimmermann)

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.