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ENVY AND INEQUALITY

Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado () and Ngo Long

Departmental Working Papers from McGill University, Department of Economics

Abstract: We present an overlapping generations economy populated by heterogeneous agents who care about their consumption relative to others and the bequest they leave to their offspring. In the presence of positional concerns individual saving and bequest rates vary across the income distribution. This dispersion in the rates of asset accumulation is the main channel for envy to impact the degree of intra-generational wealth inequality and its inter-generational transmission. Our results suggest that concerns for relative consumption might be an important explanatory factor for the surprisingly low levels of assets held by low-income households and the high concentration of bequests in the upper tail of the wealth distribution.

JEL-codes: D62 E21 H21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2009-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dge
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Journal Article: Envy and Inequality (2012) Downloads
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