The 2005 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture: Emergent Class Structure
This article presents a model of the emergent class structure, in which a society inhabited by inherently identical households may be endogenously split into the rich bourgeoisie and the poor proletariat. For some parameter values, the model has no steady state where all households remain equally wealthy. In this case, the model predicts "emergent class structure" or "the rise of class societies". Even if every household starts with the same amount of wealth, the society will experience "symmetry-breaking" and will be polarized into two classes in steady state, where the rich maintain a high level of wealth partly due to the presence of the poor, who have no choice but to work for the rich at a wage rate strictly lower than the "fair" value of labor. The nonexistence of the equal steady state means that a one-shot redistribution of wealth would not be effective, as wealth inequality and the class structure would always reemerge. Thus, the class structure is an "inevitable" feature of capitalism. For other parameter values, on the other hand, the model has the unique steady state, which is characterized by perfect equality. In this case, the model predicts "dissipating class structure" or "the fall of class societies". Even if the society starts with significant wealth inequality, labor demand by the rich employers pushes up the wage rate so much that workers will escape from the poverty and eventually catch up with the rich, eliminating wealth inequality and the class structure in the long run. In an extension, we introduce self-employment, which not only provides the poor with an alternative to working for the rich, but also provides the rich with an alternative to investment that creates jobs. Due to this dual nature of self-employment, the effects of self-employment turn out to be quite subtle. Yet, within the present framework, it is possible to offer a complete characterization of the steady states even in the presence of self-employment. Copyright 2006 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 47 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (215) 898-8487
Fax: (215) 573-2057
Web page: http://www.econ.upenn.edu/ier
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/subs.asp?ref=0020-6598 Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990.
"Occupational Choice and the Process of Development,"
911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
- Becker, Robert A, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-82, September.
- Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1995.
"Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence,"
Boston University - Institute for Economic Development
65, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
- Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1997. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1121-66, December.
- Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence Kotlikoff, 1995. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence Kotlikoff, . "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," IPR working papers 95-22, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
- Chari, V V & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 1991. "Vintage Human Capital, Growth, and the Diffusion of New Technology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1142-65, December.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1997.
"Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and the Real Sector,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-91, August.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Holmström, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," IDEI Working Papers 40, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Piketty, Thomas, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 173-89, April.
- Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993.
"Income Distribution and Macroeconomics,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
- Freeman, Scott, 1996. "Equilibrium Income Inequality among Identical Agents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1047-64, October.
- Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, June.
- Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 151-72, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:47:y:2006:i:2:p:327-360. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)or ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.