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Perceptions of Equity and the Distribution of Income

  • Julio J. Rotemberg

    (Harvard University)

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.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 20 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (Part)
Pages: 249-288

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:20:y:2002:i:2:p:249-288
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  1. Atkinson,A.B. & Rainwater,L. & Smeeding,T., 1995. "Income Distribution in European Countries," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9535, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  2. Deininger, K & Squire, L, 1996. "Measuring Income Inequality : A New Data-Base," Papers 537, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. " Matching, Heterogeneity, and the Evolution of Income Distribution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 61-92, March.
  4. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
  5. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  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 1333-81, September.
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