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Why economic theory has little to say about the causes and effects of inequality

In this paper we discuss and critique the theory (and lack thereof) on inequality in economics. We suggest that the discipline is uncomfortable on the whole with analysing the phenomenon and that those theorists who have asked how inequality arises and what its economic consequences are do so without analytical depth. This, we hazard, is because of a fundamental constraint on what phenomena standard economic theory can address, stemming from the core assumption that the economy can be studied as if it functions like a classical mechanical system, not a complex adaptive system.

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File URL: http://www.uq.edu.au/economics/abstract/476.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series Discussion Papers Series with number 476.

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Date of creation: 21 Feb 2013
Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:476
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  1. Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," IZA Discussion Papers 2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. John Foster, 2005. "From simplistic to complex systems in economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(6), pages 873-892, November.
  3. Amitava Krishna Dutt, 2012. "Distributional dynamics in Post Keynesian growth models," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 34(3), pages 431-452, April.
  4. Galor, Oded, 2000. "Income distribution and the process of development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 706-712, May.
  5. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, December.
  6. Prof John Foster, 2004. "Why is Economics not a Complex Systems Science?," Discussion Papers Series 336, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
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