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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 1, 2010

Poverty and Disequalization

Dilip Mookherjee and Debraj Ray

We study the intergenerational transmission of inequality using a model in which parents can make both financial and occupational bequests to their children. An equal steady state with high per capita skill can co-exist with unequal steady states with low per capita skill. We investigate dynamics starting from arbitrary initial conditions. The main result is that even if a country starts with a perfectly equal wealth distribution, it converges to an unequal steady state if its initial per capita wealth falls below a threshold, and to the equal steady state otherwise. Hence initial poverty (even with perfect equality) can generate long-term inequality, and undermine economic development.

Published Online: 2010-1-1

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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