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Big fortunes, aggregate saving and growth


  • Michael Reiter


The paper analyzes a heterogeneous agents macro model in which large fortunes are created through entrepreneurial behavior. Special attention is given to the saving behavior of the very wealthy families. It is a prominent puzzle in consumption theory that the very rich save more than what one can explain by the standard permanent-income/life-cycle model. The paper follows the proposal of Christopher Carroll (1998) and modifies the utility function such that households may derive utility not just from consumption, but also from the ownership of capital directly. Carroll has shown that this modification is able to explain the saving behavior of the rich in a partial equilibrium setup. The present paper puts this idea into general equilibrium with a continuum of agents, and calibrates it to US data. It analyzes numerically under what conditions this model can explain the broad facts about wealth distribution, saving and interest rates. The paper also analyzes how savings and the interest rates react to low-frequency changes in productivity growth and capital tax rates, and compares it with the predictions of the standard model.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Reiter, 2004. "Big fortunes, aggregate saving and growth," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 263, Society for Computational Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf4:263

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tobin, James, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 195-202, May.
    2. Chiarella,Carl & Flaschel,Peter, 2011. "The Dynamics of Keynesian Monetary Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521180184, March.
    3. Mankiw, N Gregory, 2001. "The Inexorable and Mysterious Tradeoff between Inflation and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages 45-61, May.
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    5. Glenn Rudebusch & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 203-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Chiarella, Carl & Flaschel, Peter, 1996. "Real and monetary cycles in models of Keynes-Wicksell type," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 327-351, September.
    8. Carl Chiarella & Peter Flaschel & Reiner Franke & Willi Semmler, 2002. "Stability Analysis of a High-Dimensional Macrodynamic Model of Real-Financial Interaction: A Cascade of Matrices Approach," Working Paper Series 123, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
    9. H. Rose, 1967. "On the Non-Linear Theory of the Employment Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 153-173.
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    11. Lawrence F. Katz & Olivier Blanchard, 1999. "Wage Dynamics: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 69-74, May.
    12. C. Chiarella & P. Chen, 2004. "Keynesian Dynamics and the Wage-Price Spiral:Estimating a Baseline Disequilibrium Approach," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 149, Society for Computational Economics.
    13. Peter Flaschel & Göran Kauermann & Willi Semmler, 2007. "Testing Wage And Price Phillips Curves For The United States," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 550-581, November.
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    16. Peter Flaschel & Hans-Martin Krolzig, 2003. "Wage and Price Phillips Curves An empirical analysis of destabilizing wage-price spirals," Economics Papers 2003-W16, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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    More about this item


    wealth distribution; saving; heterogenous agents;

    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


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