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Marital Instability and the Distribution of Wealth

Author

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  • John Knowles

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Nezih Guner

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Abstract

The levels of wealth differ significantly among people who are approaching their retirement both by current marital status as well as by marital histories. We develop an equilibrium model of marriage and divorce and household savings, in which the interplay between endogenous formation and dissolution of families and savings decisions plays a key role. We show that a calibrated version of the model can reproduce observed patterns of wealth inequality by marital status and marital history, and highlight the role of endogenous marriage formation in wealth accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • John Knowles & Nezih Guner, 2007. "Marital Instability and the Distribution of Wealth," 2007 Meeting Papers 785, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:785
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    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2007/paper_785.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. S. Rao Aiyagari & Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2000. "On the State of the Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 213-244, April.
    2. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John A. Knowles, 2003. "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Income," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 827-862, August.
    3. Luis Cubeddu & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1997. "Marital risk and capital accumulation," Staff Report 235, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    4. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "Dynamic Labour Force Participation of Married Women and Endogenous Work Experience," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 375-390.
    5. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
    6. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
    7. Hector Chade & Gustavo Ventura, 2002. "Taxes and Marriage: A Two-Sided Search Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 955-986, August.
    8. 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.
    9. Lupton, J. & Smith, J.P., 1999. "Marriage, Assets, and Savings," Papers 99-12, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rigas OIKONOMOU & Christian SIEGEL, 2015. "Capital Taxes, Labor Taxes and the Household," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(3), pages 217-260, September.
    2. De Nardi, Mariacristina & Yang, Fang, 2014. "Bequests and heterogeneity in retirement wealth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 182-196.

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