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The social architecture of capitalism

  • 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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378437104010726
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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/physica-a-statistical-mechpplications/

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  1. Ormerod, Paul, 2002. "The US business cycle: power law scaling for interacting units with complex internal structure," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 314(1), pages 774-785.
  2. 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.
  3. Ian Wright, 2003. "The duration of recessions follows an exponential not a power law," Papers cond-mat/0311585, arXiv.org, revised Mar 2011.
  4. Cook, William & Ormerod, Paul, 2003. "Power law distribution of the frequency of demises of US firms," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 324(1), pages 207-212.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Ormerod, Paul & Mounfield, Craig, 2001. "Power law distribution of the duration and magnitude of recessions in capitalist economies: breakdown of scaling," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 293(3), pages 573-582.
  9. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2005. "Explaining the Distribution of Firms Growth Rates," LEM Papers Series 2005/16, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Robert Axtell, 1999. "The Emergence of Firms in a Population of Agents," Working Papers 99-03-019, Santa Fe Institute.
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