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Efficiency with endogenous population growth
In this paper, we generalize the notion of Pareto-efficiency to make it applicable to environments with endogenous populations. Two efficiency concepts are proposed, P-efficiency and A-efficiency. The two concepts differ in how they treat people who are not born. We show how these concepts relate to the notion of Pareto-efficiency when fertility is exogenous. We then prove versions of the first welfare theorem assuming that decision making is efficient within the dynasty. Finally, we give two sets of sufficient conditions for noncooperative equilibria of family decision problems to be efficient. These include the Barro and Becker model as a special case.
AUTHORS: Tertilt, Michele; Golosov, Mikhail; Jones, Larry E.
Consumer bankruptcy: a fresh start
American consumer bankruptcy provides for a Fresh Start through the discharge of a household?s debt. Until recently, many European countries specified a No Fresh Start policy of life-long liability for debt. The trade-off between these two policies is that while Fresh Start provides insurance across states, it drives up interest rates and thereby makes life-cycle smoothing more difficult. This paper quantitatively compares these bankruptcy rules using a life-cycle model with incomplete markets calibrated to the U.S. and Germany. A key innovation is that households face idiosyncratic uncertainty about their net asset holdings (expense shocks) and labor income. We find that expense uncertainty plays a key role in evaluating consumer bankruptcy laws.
AUTHORS: Tertilt, Michele; Livshits, Igor; MacGee, James