Limited Attention and Income Distribution


Mullainathan, Sendhil, and Abhijit Banerjee. 2008. “Limited Attention and Income Distribution”. Copy at

Date Presented:

Jan 1, 2008


Economists have long been interested in the idea that there is a direct circular relation between poverty and low productivity, and not just one that is mediated by market failures, usually in asset markets. The nutrition-based e¢ ciency wage model (Partha Dasgupta and Debraj Ray, 1987) is the canonical example of models where this happens: However it has been variously suggested (see for example T. N. Srinivasan, 1994) that the link from nutrition to productivity and especially the link from productivity to nutrition is too weak to be any more than a small part of the story. Partha Dasgupta himself acknowledges this when he writes "nutrition-productivity construct provides a metaphor... for an economic environment harboring poverty traps."


Presented at the American Economic Association, January 4, 2008.
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