The 2005 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture: Emergent Class Structure
AbstractThis article presents a model of the emergent class structure, in which a society inhabited by inherently identical households may be endogenously split into the rich bourgeoisie and the poor proletariat. For some parameter values, the model has no steady state where all households remain equally wealthy. In this case, the model predicts "emergent class structure" or "the rise of class societies". Even if every household starts with the same amount of wealth, the society will experience "symmetry-breaking" and will be polarized into two classes in steady state, where the rich maintain a high level of wealth partly due to the presence of the poor, who have no choice but to work for the rich at a wage rate strictly lower than the "fair" value of labor. The nonexistence of the equal steady state means that a one-shot redistribution of wealth would not be effective, as wealth inequality and the class structure would always reemerge. Thus, the class structure is an "inevitable" feature of capitalism. For other parameter values, on the other hand, the model has the unique steady state, which is characterized by perfect equality. In this case, the model predicts "dissipating class structure" or "the fall of class societies". Even if the society starts with significant wealth inequality, labor demand by the rich employers pushes up the wage rate so much that workers will escape from the poverty and eventually catch up with the rich, eliminating wealth inequality and the class structure in the long run. In an extension, we introduce self-employment, which not only provides the poor with an alternative to working for the rich, but also provides the rich with an alternative to investment that creates jobs. Due to this dual nature of self-employment, the effects of self-employment turn out to be quite subtle. Yet, within the present framework, it is possible to offer a complete characterization of the steady states even in the presence of self-employment. Copyright 2006 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.
Volume (Year): 47 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 160 McNeil Building, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
Phone: (215) 898-8487
Fax: (215) 573-2057
Web page: http://www.econ.upenn.edu/ier
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Kiminori Matsuyama, 2005. "The 2005 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture: Emergent Class Structure," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-383, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Degan, Arianna & Thibault, Emmanuel, 2012. "Dynastic Accumulation of Wealth," TSE Working Papers 12-325, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
- Degan, Arianna & Thibault, Emmanuel, 2012. "Dynastic Accumulation of Wealth," IDEI Working Papers 733, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Ahlin, Christian & Jiang, Neville, 2008. "Can micro-credit bring development?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 1-21, April.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.