Capital Return Jumps and Wealth Distribution
The distributions of wealth in the US and many other countries are strikingly concentrated on the top and skewed to the right. To explain the income and wealth inequality, we provide a tractable heterogeneous-agent model with incomplete markets in continuous time. We separate illiquid capital assets from liquid bond assets and introduce capital return jump risks. Under recursive utility, we derive optimal consumption and wealth in closed form and show that the stationary wealth distribution has an exponential right tail. Our calibrated model can match the income and wealth distributions in the US data including the extreme right tail. We also study the effect of taxes on the distribution of wealth.
We thank Steve Kou and Hao Xing for helpful discussions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.