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Inequality of opportunity, inequality of effort, and innovation

Alessandro Spiganti

No MWP 2020/02, Economics Working Papers from European University Institute

Abstract: Is inequality good or bad for innovation? I study an endogenous growth model with heterogeneous agents; due to credit frictions, inequalities in wealth lead to misallocation of talent. A more unequal reward scheme incentivises innovation in any given period, but it leads to a more unequal distribution of opportunities that may exacerbate the misallocation of talent in the next period. Empirically, I show that the flow of patents in a US state is negatively correlated with inequality of opportunity, but positively with inequality of effort; and that the elimination of state death taxes, as a proxy for an increase in the financial incentives towards risky activities, had a positive short-term but a negative longterm effect on the growth rate of patents.

Keywords: Occupational Choices; Adverse Selection; Bequests; Theil's Index; Death Taxes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D15 D53 D58 D82 H23 O31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fdg and nep-tid
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