Discussion paper

DP13984 Redistributive Growth

We study long term effects of the technological shift to intangible capital, whose creation relies on the commitment of skilled human capital in firm production. Humancapital cannot be owned, so firms need less financing. Human capital cannot be credibly committed so firms need to reward it by deferred compensation, diluting future profits. As human capital income is not tradeable, total investable assets fall. The general equilibrium effect is a gradual fall in interest rates and a re-allocation of excess savings into rising valuations of existing assets such as real estate. The concomitant rise in house prices and wage inequality leads to higher household leverage.


Perotti, E and R Döttling (2019), ‘DP13984 Redistributive Growth‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 13984. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp13984