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The social architecture of capitalism

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  • Wright, Ian

Abstract

A dynamic model of the social relations between workers and capitalists is introduced. The model self-organises into a dynamic equilibrium with statistical properties that are in close qualitative and in many cases quantitative agreement with a broad range of known empirical distributions of developed capitalism, including the power-law firm size distribution, the Laplace firm and GDP growth distribution, the lognormal firm demises distribution, the exponential recession duration distribution, the lognormal–Pareto income distribution, and the gamma-like firm rate-of-profit distribution. Normally these distributions are studied in isolation, but this model unifies and connects them within a single causal framework. The model also generates business cycle phenomena, including fluctuating wage and profit shares in national income about values consistent with empirical studies. The generation of an approximately lognormal–Pareto income distribution and an exponential–Pareto wealth distribution demonstrates that the power-law regime of the income distribution can be explained by an additive process on a power-law network that models the social relation between employers and employees organised in firms, rather than a multiplicative process that models returns to investment in financial markets. A testable consequence of the model is the conjecture that the rate-of-profit distribution is consistent with a parameter-mix of a ratio of normal variates with means and variances that depend on a firm size parameter that is distributed according to a power-law.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications.

Volume (Year): 346 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 589-620

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Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:346:y:2005:i:3:p:589-620

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Web page: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/physica-a-statistical-mechpplications/

Related research

Keywords: Econophysics; Macroeconomics; Economic distributions;

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References

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  1. Robert Axtell, 1999. "The Emergence of Firms in a Population of Agents," Working Papers 99-03-019, Santa Fe Institute.
  2. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2006. "Explaining the distribution of firm growth rates," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 235-256, 06.
  3. Gaffeo, Edoardo & Gallegati, Mauro & Palestrini, Antonio, 2003. "On the size distribution of firms: additional evidence from the G7 countries," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 324(1), pages 117-123.
  4. Gatti, Domenico Delli & Guilmi, Corrado Di & Gaffeo, Edoardo & Giulioni, Gianfranco & Gallegati, Mauro & Palestrini, Antonio, 2005. "A new approach to business fluctuations: heterogeneous interacting agents, scaling laws and financial fragility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 489-512, April.
  5. Youngki Lee & Luis A. N. Amaral & David Canning & Martin Meyer & H. Eugene Stanley, 1998. "Universal features in the growth dynamics of complex organizations," Papers cond-mat/9804100, arXiv.org.
  6. Wright, Ian, 2005. "The duration of recessions follows an exponential not a power law," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 345(3), pages 608-610.
  7. Canning, D. & Amaral, L. A. N. & Lee, Y. & Meyer, M. & Stanley, H. E., 1998. "Scaling the volatility of GDP growth rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 335-341, September.
  8. L. A. N. Amaral & S. V. Buldyrev & S. Havlin & H. Leschhorn & P. Maass & M. A. Salinger & H. E. Stanley & M. H. R. Stanley, 1997. "Scaling behavior in economics: I. Empirical results for company growth," Papers cond-mat/9702082, arXiv.org.
  9. Fujiwara, Yoshi & Di Guilmi, Corrado & Aoyama, Hideaki & Gallegati, Mauro & Souma, Wataru, 2004. "Do Pareto–Zipf and Gibrat laws hold true? An analysis with European firms," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 335(1), pages 197-216.
  10. William Cook & Paul Ormerod, 2002. "Power Law Distribution of the Frequency of Demises of U.S Firms," Papers cond-mat/0212186, arXiv.org.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Paul Cockshott & David Zachariah, 2013. "Conservation laws, financial entropy and the Eurozone crisis," Papers 1301.5974, arXiv.org.
  2. Wright, Ian, 2008. "Implicit Microfoundations for Macroeconomics," Economics Discussion Papers 2008-41, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  3. Lengnick, Matthias & Krug, Sebastian & Wohltmann, Hans-Werner, 2012. "Money creation and financial instability: An agent-based credit network approach," Economics Discussion Papers 2012-61, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  4. Ian Wright, 2004. "A conjecture on the distribution of firm profit," Papers cond-mat/0407687, arXiv.org, revised Mar 2011.
  5. Lengnick, Matthias, 2013. "Agent-based macroeconomics: A baseline model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 102-120.
  6. Thomas Lux, 2006. "Applications of Statistical Physics in Finance and Economics," Working Papers wpn06-07, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  7. Geoff Willis, 2011. "Why Money Trickles Up - Wealth & Income Distributions," Papers 1105.2122, arXiv.org, revised May 2011.
  8. Cockshott, Paul & Zachariah, David, 2013. "Conservation laws, financial entropy and the eurozone crisis," Economics Discussion Papers 2013-36, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  9. Victor M. Yakovenko, 2012. "Applications of statistical mechanics to economics: Entropic origin of the probability distributions of money, income, and energy consumption," Papers 1204.6483, arXiv.org.
  10. Victor M. Yakovenko & J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Colloquium: Statistical mechanics of money, wealth, and income," Papers 0905.1518, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2009.
  11. Cottrell, Allin & Cockshott, W. Paul, 2007. "Against Hayek," MPRA Paper 6062, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Lavička, H. & Lin, L. & Novotný, J., 2010. "Employment, Production and Consumption model: Patterns of phase transitions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(8), pages 1708-1720.

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