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Relative advantage, queue jumping, and welfare maximizing wealth distribution

Listed author(s):
  • Alex Coram

    ()

    (Robert Gordon University, Scotland, and The University of Western Australia)

  • Lyle Noakes

    (The University of Western Australia)

Registered author(s):

    Suppose individuals get utilities from the total amount of wealth they hold and from their wealth relative to those immediately below them. This paper studies the distribution of wealth that maximizes an additive welfare function made up of these utilities. It interprets wealth distribution in a control theory framework to show that the welfare maximizing distribution may have unexpected properties. In some circumstances it requires that inequality be maximized at the poorest and richest ends of the distribution. In other circumstances it requires that all wealth be given to a single individual. JEL Categories: C61, D60

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    File URL: http://www.umass.edu/economics/publications/2006-08.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2006-08.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2006
    Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2006-08
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    Web page: http://www.umass.edu/economics
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    1. Thorvaldur Gylfason, 2002. "Mother Earth: Ally or Adversary?," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 3(1), pages 7-24, January.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "The Economics of Happiness," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 3(1), pages 25-41, January.
    3. Weiss, Yoram & Fershtman, Chaim, 1998. "Social status and economic performance:: A survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 801-820, May.
    4. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
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