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Optimal control of inequality under uncertainty

Listed author(s):
  • Martin Forster
  • Davide La Torre
  • Peter Lambert

We consider the optimal control of inequality under uncertainty, with a particular focus on income inequality. For an economy experiencing economic growth and random shocks, we show how a simple loss and `bequest' function may be combined to guide the expected level of inequality towards a pre-defined target within a finite planning horizon. Closed form solutions show that, the stronger the shocks to the income distribution, the more aggressive is policy. We discuss the results in the context of recent applied and policy literature on social inequality, globalisation and economic instability.

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File URL: https://www.york.ac.uk/media/economics/documents/discussionpapers/2012/1207.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 12/07.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:12/07
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom

Phone: (0)1904 323776
Web page: https://www.york.ac.uk/economics/
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  1. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-625, April.
  2. Stephen P. Jenkins & Philippe VanKerm, 2003. "Trends in Income Inequality, Pro-Poor Income Growth and Income Mobility," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 377, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Poterba, James M., 2007. "Income inequality and income taxation," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 623-633.
  4. Claudio Zoli, 1999. "Intersecting generalized Lorenz curves and the Gini index," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 16(2), pages 183-196.
  5. Hongyi Li & Danyang Xie & Heng-Fu Zou, 2000. "Dynamics of income distribution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 937-961, November.
  6. Anthony F. Shorrocks & James E. Foster, 1987. "Transfer Sensitive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 485-497.
  7. Mattias Lundberg & Lyn Squire, 2003. "The simultaneous evolution of growth and inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 326-344, 04.
  8. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," NBER Working Papers 15483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Casilda Lasso de la Vega & Ana Urrutia, 2008. "The ‘Extended’ Atkinson family: The class of multiplicatively decomposable inequality measures, and some new graphical procedures for analysts," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(2), pages 211-225, June.
  10. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
  11. Richard Blundell & Ben Etheridge, 2010. "Consumption, Income and Earnings Inequality in Britain," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 76-102, January.
  12. Peter Lambert & Giuseppe Lanza, 2006. "The effect on inequality of changing one or two incomes," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(3), pages 253-277, December.
  13. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  14. Ewald, Christian-Oliver & Wang, Wen-Kai, 2011. "Analytic solutions for infinite horizon stochastic optimal control problems via finite horizon approximation: A practical guide," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 146-151, May.
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