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Creator: Lepetyuk, Vadym and Stoltenberg, Christian Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 705 Abstract:
The rise in within-group consumption inequality in response to the increase in within-group income inequality over the last three decades in the U.S. is puzzling to expected-utility-based incomplete market models. The two-sided lack of commitment models exhibit too little consumption inequality while the standard incomplete markets models tend to predict too much consumption inequality. We show that a model with two-sided lack of commitment and chance attitudes, as emphasized by prospect theory, can explain the relationship and can avoid the systematic bias of the expected utility models. The chance attitudes, such as optimism and pessimism, imply that the households attribute a higher weight to high and low outcomes compared to their objective probabilities. For realistic values of risk aversion and of chance attitudes, the incentives for households to share the idiosyncratic risk decrease. The latter effect endogenously amplifies the increase in consumption inequality relative to the expected utility model, thereby improving the fit to the data.
Palabra clave: Risk sharing, Consumption inequality, Prospect theory, and Limited enforcement Tema: D52 - Incomplete Markets, D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Bloom, Nicholas, Guvenen, Fatih, Price, David J., Song, Jae, and von Wachter, Till Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 750 Abstract:
We use a massive, matched employer-employee database for the United States to analyze the contribution of firms to the rise in earnings inequality from 1978 to 2013. We ﬁnd that one-third of the rise in the variance of (log) earnings occurred within firms, whereas two-thirds of the rise occurred between firms. However, this rising between-firm variance is not accounted for by the firms themselves: the firm-related rise in the variance can be decomposed into two roughly equally important forces—a rise in the sorting of high-wage workers to high-wage firms and a rise in the segregation of similar workers between firms. In contrast, we do not ﬁnd a rise in the variance of firm-speciﬁc pay once we control for worker composition. Instead, we see a substantial rise in dispersion of person-speciﬁc pay, accounting for 68% of rising inequality, potentially due to rising returns to skill. The rise in between-firm variance, mostly due to worker sorting and segregation, accounted for a particularly large share of the total increase in inequality in smaller and medium firms (explaining 84% for firms with fewer than 10,000 employees). In contrast, in the very largest firms with 10,000+ employees, 42% of the increase in the variance of earnings took place within firms, driven by both declines in earnings for employees below the median and a substantial rise in earnings for the 10% best-paid employees. However, because of their small number, the contribution of the very top 50 or so earners at large firms to the overall increase in within-firm earnings inequality is small.
Palabra clave: Income inequality, Pay inequality, and Between-firm inequality Tema: E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure, and J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Creator: Phelan, Christopher Series: Quarterly review (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: Vol. 26, No. 2 Abstract:
This study uses John Rawls’ behind-the-veil of ignorance device as a fairness criterion to evaluate social policies and applies it to a contracting model in which the terms equality of opportunity and equality of result are well defined. The results suggest that fairness and inequality—even extreme inequality—are compatible. In a static world, when incentives must be provided, fairness implies equality of opportunity, but inequality of result. In a dynamic world of long-lived individuals, fairness implies not only inequality of result, but also, eventually, infinite inequality of result. If each period of the dynamic model is interpreted as a generation, then eventual infinite inequality holds for opportunity as well, as long as fairness is from the perspective of the first generation. If preferences of later generations are taken into account, then inequality of opportunity still occurs, although not at extreme levels.
Creator: Cai, Zhifeng and Heathcote, Jonathan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 569 Abstract:
This paper evaluates the role of rising income inequality in explaining observed growth in college tuition. We develop a competitive model of the college market in which college quality depends on instructional expenditure and the average ability of admitted students. An innovative feature of our model is that it allows for a continuous distribution of college quality. We find that observed increases in US income inequality can explain more than the entire observed rise in average net tuition since 1990 and that rising income inequality has also depressed college attendance.
Palabra clave: Club goods, College tuition, and Income inequality Tema: I23 - Higher Education; Research Institutions, I22 - Educational Finance; Financial Aid, and I24 - Education and Inequality
Creator: Boerma, Job and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 746 Abstract:
We revisit the causes, welfare consequences, and policy implications of the dispersion in households' labor market outcomes using a model with uninsurable risk, incomplete asset markets, and home production. Accounting for home production amplifies welfare-based differences across households meaning that inequality is larger than we thought. Home production does not offset differences that originate in the market sector because productivity differences in the home sector are significant and the time input in home production does not covary with consumption expenditures and wages in the cross section of households. The optimal tax system should feature more progressivity taking into account home production.
Palabra clave: Labor supply, Home production, Inequality, and Consumption Tema: E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply, D60 - Welfare Economics: General, and D10 - Household Behavior: General
Creator: Hosseini, Roozbeh, Jones, Larry E., and Shourideh, Ali Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 674 Abstract:
We use an extended Barro-Becker model of endogenous fertility, in which parents are heterogeneous in their labor productivity, to study the efficient degree of consumption inequality in the long run. In our environment a utilitarian planner allows for consumption inequality even when labor productivity is public information. We show that adding private information does not alter this result. We also show that the informationally constrained optimal insurance contract has a resetting property—whenever a family line experiences the highest shock, the continuation utility of each child is reset to a (high) level that is independent of history. This implies that there is a non-trivial, stationary distribution over continuation utilities and there is no mass at misery. The novelty of our approach is that the no-immiseration result is achieved without requiring that the objectives of the planner and the private agents disagree. Because there is no discrepancy between planner and private agents' objectives, the policy implications for implementation of the efficient allocation differ from previous results in the literature. Two examples of these are: 1) estate taxes are positive and 2) there are positive taxes on family size.
Tema: D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement, H23 - Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies, D30 - Distribution: General, H43 - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate, C61 - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis, H21 - Taxation and Subsidies: Efficiency; Optimal Taxation, and D64 - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfer
Creator: De Nardi, Mariacristina Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 314 Abstract:
Previous work has had difficulty generating household saving behavior that makes the distribution of wealth much more concentrated than that of labor earnings, and that makes the richest households hold onto large amounts of wealth, even during very old age. I construct a quantitative, general equilibrium, overlapping-generations model in which parents and children are linked by accidental and voluntary bequests and by earnings ability. I show that voluntary bequests can explain the emergence of large estates, while accidental bequests alone cannot, and that adding earnings persistence within families increases wealth concentration even more. I also show that the introduction of a bequest motive generates lifetime savings profiles more consistent with the data.
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 715 Abstract:
Randomness in individual discovery tends to spread out productivities in a population, while learning from others keeps productivities together. In combination, these two mechanisms for knowledge accumulation give rise to long-term growth and persistent income inequality. This paper considers a world in which those with more useful knowledge can teach those with less useful knowledge, with competitive markets assigning students to teachers. In equilibrium, students who are able to learn quickly are assigned to teachers with the most productive knowledge. The long-run growth rate of this economy is governed by the rate at which the fastest learners can learn. The income distribution reflects learning ability and serendipity, both in individual discovery and in the assignment of students to teachers. Because of naturally arising indeterminacies in this assignment, payoff irrelevant characteristics can be predictors of individual income growth. Ability rents can be large when fast learners are scarce, when the process of individual discovery is not too noisy, and when overhead labor costs are low.
Palabra clave: Growth, Knowledge diffusion, and Inequality Tema: O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General, L20 - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior: General, and O30 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights: General
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 509 Abstract:
Randomness in individual discovery disperses productivities, whereas learning from others keeps productivities together. Long-run growth and persistent earnings inequality emerge when these two mechanisms for knowledge accumulation are combined. This paper considers an economy in which those with more useful knowledge can teach others, with competitive markets assigning students to teachers. In equilibrium, students with an ability to learn quickly are assigned to teachers with the most productive knowledge. This sorting on ability implies large differences in earnings distributions conditional on ability, as shown using explicit formulas for the tail behavior of these distributions.
Palabra clave: Knowledge diffusion, Growth, and Income inequality Tema: O30 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights: General, J20 - Demand and Supply of Labor: General, O10 - Economic Development: General, and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
Creator: Krueger, Dirk and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 363 Abstract:
Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we first document that the recent increase in income inequality in the United States has not been accompanied by a corresponding rise in consumption inequality. Much of this divergence is due to different trends in within-group inequality, which has increased significantly for income but little for consumption. We then develop a simple framework that allows us to analytically characterize how within-group income inequality affects consumption inequality in a world in which agents can trade a full set of contingent consumption claims, subject to endogenous constraints emanating from the limited enforcement of intertemporal contracts (as in Kehoe and Levine, 1993). Finally, we quantitatively evaluate, in the context of a calibrated general equilibrium production economy, whether this setup, or alternatively a standard incomplete markets model (as in Aiyagari, 1994), can account for the documented stylized consumption inequality facts from the U.S. data.
Palabra clave: Limited Enforcement, Risk Sharing, and Consumption Inequality Tema: D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement, D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making, and G22 - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies