IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/pophec/v9y2010i2p213-244.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The market, competition, and equality

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Dietsch

    (Université de Montréal, Canada, peter.dietsch@umontreal.ca)

Abstract

How much inequality does market interaction generate? The answer to this question partly depends on the level of competition among economic agents. Yet, in their normative analysis of the market, theories of distributive justice focus on individual characteristics such as talents as determinants of income, and tend to ignore structural features such as competition. Economists, on the other hand, dispose of the conceptual tools to assess the distributive impact of competition, but their analysis is usually limited to allocative efficiency. Part I of the article distinguishes my argument from conventional perspectives on income inequality and redistribution. Whereas the latter propose either to redistribute income once the market interaction has taken place or to adjust the initial holdings of market participants, I focus on the distributive impact of the institutional structure of the market itself. Part II outlines the ways in which various forms of competition affect distribution. My objective here is descriptive in nature, but shows that a normative evaluation of the market has to take seriously the distributive impact of competition. This impact can be broken down into the analysis of three overlapping groups of economic agents, namely consumers, workers, and capital owners. Consumers potentially gain from competition in the form of lower prices, but these gains are only realized if competition does not put pressure on their work income at the same time. Unless competition squeezes profits unusually hard, capital owners tend to benefit from competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Dietsch, 2010. "The market, competition, and equality," Politics, Philosophy & Economics, , vol. 9(2), pages 213-244, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:9:y:2010:i:2:p:213-244
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ppe.sagepub.com/content/9/2/213.abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006. "Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 2006-15, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
      • BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2006. "Population Ethics," Cahiers de recherche 14-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    2. Kevin W. S. Roberts, 1980. "Interpersonal Comparability and Social Choice Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 421-439.
    3. Arrhenius, Gustaf, 2000. "An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 247-266, October.
    4. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1997. "Birth-Date Dependent Population Ethics: Critical-Level Principles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 260-284, December.
    5. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1992. "Pigs and Guinea Pigs: A Note on the Ethics of Animal Exploitation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1345-1369, November.
    6. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. " Population Principles with Number-Dependent Critical Levels," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 347-368.
    7. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1986. "Social criteria for evaluating population change: An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson criterion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-381, April.
    8. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    9. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. "Utilitarianism and the theory of justice," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare,in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 543-596 Elsevier.
    10. Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Uncertainty and critical-level population principles," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20.
    11. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2001. "Population ethics and the existence of value functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 301-308, November.
    12. Broome, John, 2006. "Weighing Lives," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199297702.
    13. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:pophec:v:9:y:2010:i:2:p:213-244. 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: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.