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Results 12 resources
Esteban, J., & Ray, D. (2011). Linking Conflict to Inequality and Polarization. American Economic Review, 101, 1345–1374.
In this paper we study a behavioral model of conflict that provides a basis for choosing certain indices of dispersion as indicators for conflict. We show that a suitable monotone transform of the equilibrium level of conflict can be proxied by a linear function of the Gini coefficient, the Herfindahl-Hirschman fractionalization index, and a specific measure of polarization due to Esteban and Ray. (JEL D31, D63, D74)
Mookherjee, D., & Ray, D. (2002). Contractual Structure and Wealth Accumulation. American Economic Review, 92, 818–849.
Can historical wealth distributions affect long-run output and inequality despite "rational" saving, convex technology and no externalities? We consider a model of equilibrium short-period financial contracts, where poor agents face credit constraints owing to moral hazard and limited liability. If agents have no bargaining power, poor agents have no incentive to save: poverty traps emerge and agents are polarized into two classes, with no interclass mobility. If instead agents have all the bargaining power, strong saving incentives are generated: the wealth of poor and rich agents alike drift upward indefinitely and "history" does not matter eventually. (D31, D91, I32, O17, Q15)
We conceptualize and measure upward mobility over income or wealth. At the core of our exercise is the Growth Progressivity Axiom: transfers of instantaneous growth rates from relatively rich to poor individuals increases upward mobility. This axiom, along with mild auxiliary restrictions, identifies an "upward mobility kernel" with a single free parameter, in which mobility is linear in individual growth rates, with geometrically declining weights on baseline incomes. We extend this kernel to trajectories over intervals. The analysis delivers an upward mobility index that does not rely on panel data. That significantly expands our analytical scope to data-poor settings.
Ray, D., & Robson, A. (2018). Certified Random: A New Order for Coauthorship. American Economic Review, 108, 489–520.
Alphabetical name order is the norm for joint publications in economics. However, alphabetical order confers greater benefits on the first author. In a two-author model, we introduce and study certified random order: the uniform randomization of names made universally known by a commonly understood symbol. Certified random order (i) distributes the gain from first authorship evenly over the alphabet; (ii) allows either author to signal when contributions are extremely unequal; (iii) will invade an environment where alphabetical order is dominant; (iv) is robust to deviations; (v) may be ex ante more efficient than alphabetical order; and (vi) is no more complex than the existing alphabetical system modified by occasional reversal of name order.
Onuchic, P., & Ray, D. (2023). Signaling and Discrimination in Collaborative Projects. American Economic Review, 113, 210–252.
We study collaborative work in pairs when potential collaborators are motivated by the reputational implications of (joint or solo) projects. In equilibrium, individual collaboration strategies both influence and are influenced by the public assignment of credit for joint work across the two partners. We investigate the fragility of collaboration to small biases in the public's credit assignment. When collaborators are symmetric, symmetric equilibria are often fragile, and in nonfragile equilibria individuals receive asymmetric collaborative credit based on payoff-irrelevant "identities." We study payoff distributions across identities within asymmetric equilibria, and compare aggregate welfare across symmetric and asymmetric equilibria.
Esteban, J., & Ray, D. (2006). Inequality, Lobbying, and Resource Allocation. American Economic Review, 96, 257–279.
This paper describes how wealth inequality may distort public resource allocation. A government seeks to allocate limited resources to productive sectors, but sectoral productivity is privately known by agents with vested interests in those sectors. They lobby the government for preferential treatment. The government—even if it honestly seeks to maximize economic efficiency—may be confounded by the possibility that both high wealth and true economic desirability create loud lobbies. Broadly speaking, both poorer economies and unequal economies display greater public misallocation. The paper warns against the conventional wisdom that this is so because such governments are more "corrupt."
Esteban, J., & Ray, D. (2008). On the Salience of Ethnic Conflict. American Economic Review, 98, 2185–2202.
A classical theme in social analysis views economic class divisions as the main cause of social conflict. Yet many, if not most of the conflicts we observe today appear to be ethnic in nature. It appears that the "vertical" nature of class divisions is often dominated by the "horizontal" antagonisms across groups delineated by noneconomic markers. This paper highlights the perverse synergy of economic inequality within ethnic groups, and its role in the salience of ethnic conflict. In a model of group formation which allows both class and ethnic groupings to emerge, we show that ethnic, as opposed to class, conflict may be focal, and precisely in the presence of economic inequality. (JEL D72, D74)
Bloch, F., Genicot, G., & Ray, D. (2007). Reciprocity in Groups and the Limits to Social Capital. American Economic Review, 97, 65–69.
Esteban, J., Mayoral, L., & Ray, D. (2012). Ethnicity and Conflict: An Empirical Study. American Economic Review, 102, 1310–1342.
We examine empirically the impact of ethnic divisions on conflict, by using a specification based on Esteban and Ray (2011). That theory links conflict intensity to three indices of ethnic distribution: polarization, fractionalization, and the Gini-Greenberg index. The empirical analysis verifies that these distributional measures are significant correlates of conflict. These effects persist as we introduce country-specific measures of group cohesion and of the importance of public goods, and combine them with the distributional measures exactly as described by the theory. (JEL D63, D74, J15, O15, O17)