A New Model of Wage Determination and Wage Inequality
AbstractThis paper proposes a new model of wage determination and wage inequality. In this model, wage-setters set workers' wages; they do so either directly, as when individuals vote in a salary committee, or indirectly, as when political parties, via the myriad of social, economic, fiscal, and other policies, generate wages. The recommendations made by wage-setters (or arising from their policies) form a distribution, and all the wage-setter-specific distributions are combined into a single final wage distribution. There may be any number of wage-setters; some wage-setters count more than others; and the wage-setters may differ among themselves on both the wage distribution and the amounts recommended for particular workers. We use probability theory to derive initial results, including both distribution-independent and distribution-specific results. Fortuitously, elements of the model correspond to basic democratic principles. Thus, the model yields implications for the effects of democracy on wage inequality. These include: (1) The effects of the number of wage-setters and their power depend on the configuration of agreements and disagreements; (2) Independence of mind reduces wage inequality, and dissent does so even more; (3) When leaders of democratic nations seek to forge an economic consensus, they are unwittingly inducing greater economic inequality; (4) Arguments for independent thinking will be more vigorous in small societies than in large societies; (5) Given a fixed distributional form for wages and two political parties which either ignore or oppose each other's distributional ideas, the closer the party split to 50-50, the lower the wage inequality; and (6) Under certain conditions the wage distribution within wage-setting context will be normal, but the normality will be obscured, as cross-context mixtures will display a wide variety of shapes.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3850.
Length: 72 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Rationality and Society, 2009, 21 (1), 113-168
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C02 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Mathematical Economics
- C16 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Econometric and Statistical Methods; Specific Distributions
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-12-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2008-12-07 (Business Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2008-12-07 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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