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A New Model of Wage Determination and Wage Inequality

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  • Jasso, Guillermina

    ()
    (New York University)

Abstract

This 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 Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3850.

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Length: 72 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Rationality and Society, 2009, 21 (1), 113-168
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3850

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Related research

Keywords: shifted mirror-exponential distribution; shifted general Erlang distribution; wage-setter; power; consensus; independence of mind; dissent; form of government; probability distributions; shifted exponential distribution; Gini coefficient;

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  1. Guillermina Jasso & Samuel Kotz, 2007. "A new continuous distribution and two new families of distributions based on the exponential," Statistica Neerlandica, Netherlands Society for Statistics and Operations Research, vol. 61(3), pages 305-328.
  2. Boyes, William J & Happel, Stephen K, 1989. "Auctions as an Allocation Mechanism in Academia: The Case of Faculty Offices," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 37-40, Summer.
  3. Chipman, John S & Moore, James C, 1980. "Real National Income with Homothetic Preferences and a Fixed Distribution of Income," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 401-22, March.
  4. E. Roy Weintraub, 1992. "Introduction," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 3-12, Supplemen.
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