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The social architecture of capitalism

Listed author(s):
  • Wright, Ian

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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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
DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2004.08.006
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  17. William Cook & Paul Ormerod, 2002. "Power Law Distribution of the Frequency of Demises of U.S Firms," Papers cond-mat/0212186,
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  20. 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.
  21. Amaral, L.A.N. & Gopikrishnan, P. & Plerou, V. & Stanley, H.E., 2001. "A model for the growth dynamics of economic organizations," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 299(1), pages 127-136.
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