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Infrastructure and inequality

insights from incorporating key economic facts about household heterogeneity

Klenert, David Christian; Mattauch, Linus; Edenhofer, Ottmar; Lessmann, Kai

We study the impacts of investment in public capital on equity and efficiency. Taking into account stylized facts on wealth accumulation, we model agent heterogeneity through differences in saving behavior, income source and time preference. We find that in the long run, public investment is Pareto-improving and that it reduces inequality in wealth, welfare and income at the same time, if it is financed by a capital tax. Consumption tax financing is also Pareto-improving but distribution-neutral. Only for labor tax financing, a trade-off between equity and efficiency occurs. Additionally we find that agents differ in their preferred tax rates. The results for capital and labor tax financing are valid for both, the case of decreasing and constant returns to accumulable factors.
Published in: Macroeconomic dynamics, 10.1017/S1365100516000432, Cambridge Univ. Press