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Capitalists, workers, and managers: Wage inequality and effective demand

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  • Tavani, Daniele
  • Vasudevan, Ramaa

Abstract

We present a simple three-class model in the Kaleckian tradition to investigate the implications of a dominant managerial class for the dynamics of demand and distribution. Managers play a peculiar role in the economy, both because of their supervisory function – which results in surplus extraction and wage inequality – and because of their saving behavior. The adjustment of capacity utilization to accommodate goods market disequilibrium produces two distinct regimes with respect to the responsiveness of investment demand to profitability: a low investment-response regime, where effective demand appears to be both wage-led and inequality-led; and a high investment-response regime, where demand looks profit-led. In accordance with recent empirical evidence for the US, we introduce distributional dynamics that hinge on inequality squeezing workers’ wage growth. We find that the low investment-responsiveness regime produces a stable demand-distribution equilibrium only if the wage squeeze effect is relatively small. On the other hand, the equilibrium in the high investment-response regime is saddle-path stable. The main distributional implication of the wage squeeze and inequality is that the effect of redistribution toward workers in both the low investment response regime and the high investment response regime leads to declining inequality and capacity utilization. Hence, in both regimes, the inequality-led features of the equilibrium dominate the wage-led or profit-led nature of effective demand. These findings imply that distributive dynamics lead to a stronger basis for cohesion in the interests of managers and capitalists compared to workers and managers.

Suggested Citation

  • Tavani, Daniele & Vasudevan, Ramaa, 2014. "Capitalists, workers, and managers: Wage inequality and effective demand," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 120-131.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:streco:v:30:y:2014:i:c:p:120-131 DOI: 10.1016/j.strueco.2014.05.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Soon Ryoo, 2016. "Inequality of Income and Wealth in the Long Run: A Kaldorian Perspective," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 429-457, May.
    2. Prante, Franz J., 2017. "Macroeconomic effects of personal and functional income inequality: Theory and empirical evidence for the US and Germany," IPE Working Papers 83/2017, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    3. Laura Carvalho & Armon Rezai, 2016. "Personal income inequality and aggregate demand," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(2), pages 491-505.
    4. Ryunosuke Sonoda & Hiroaki Sasaki, 2015. "Differences in Wage-Determination Systems between Regular and Non-Regular Employment in a Kaleckian Model," Discussion papers e-14-018, Graduate School of Economics Project Center, Kyoto University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Effective demand; Capacity utilization; Wage inequality; Stability;

    JEL classification:

    • B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution

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