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Perceptions of Equity and the Distribution of Income

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  • Julio J. Rotemberg

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

This article develops a model in which quit rates, and thus the income distribution, depend on employee perceptions of the accuracy of employer assessments of individual productivity because these latter assessments affect wages. When employees believe that these assessments are accurate, income inequality tends to be high. The model can account for the negative correlation across some countries of inequality and the extent to which inequality is deemed to be excessive. It also fits the contrast in U.S. and French experiences concerning the tenure of highly educated workers with high wages relative to the tenure of lower-paid workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio J. Rotemberg, 2002. "Perceptions of Equity and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 249-288, Part.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:20:y:2002:i:2:p:249-288
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/338218
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    2. Anthony Atkinson & Timothy Smeeding & Lee Rainwater, 1994. "Income Distribution in European Countries," LIS Working papers 121, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Deininger, K & Squire, L, 1996. "Measuring Income Inequality : A New Data-Base," Papers 537, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
    4. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    5. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Matching, Heterogeneity, and the Evolution of Income Distribution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 61-92, March.
    6. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    7. McLaughlin, Kenneth J, 1991. "A Theory of Quits and Layoffs with Efficient Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 1-29, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    2. Seth H. Giertz, 2004. "Recent Literature on Taxable-Income Elasticities: Technical Paper 2004-16," Working Papers 16189, Congressional Budget Office.
    3. Di Tella, Rafael & Dubra, Juan, 2008. "Crime and punishment in the "American Dream"," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1564-1584, July.
    4. Fang, Hanming & Moscarini, Giuseppe, 2005. "Morale hazard," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 749-777, May.
    5. Di Tella, Rafael & Galiani, Sebastian & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2012. "Reality versus propaganda in the formation of beliefs about privatization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 553-567.
    6. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2013. "Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 100-112.
    7. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2012. "Prominent Job Advertisements, Group Learning and Wage Dispersion," NBER Working Papers 18638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Tao, Hung-Lin, 2015. "Multiple earnings comparisons and subjective earnings fairness: A cross-country study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 45-54.
    9. Paul, Maureen, 2006. "A cross-section analysis of the fairness-of-pay perception of UK employees," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 243-267, April.
    10. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998 (series updated to 2000 available)," NBER Working Papers 8467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Rafael Gomez & Noah Meltz, 2002. "The Zero Sum Illusion: Industrial Relations and Modern Economic Approaches to Growth and Income Distribution," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 37, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    12. repec:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:335:p:365-392 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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