The 2005 Lawrence R. Klein Lecture: Emergent Class Structure
This paper presents a model of 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 non-existence 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 create 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.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2005|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033|
Web page: http://www.cirje.e.u-tokyo.ac.jp/index.html
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- 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 1121-1166, 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 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.
- Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence Kotlikoff, "undated". "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," IPR working papers 95-22, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
- Robert A. Becker, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-382.
- repec:hoo:wpaper:e-92-11 is not listed on IDEAS
- Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994.
"Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector,"
95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and The Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-691.
- Holmström, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," IDEI Working Papers 40, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- 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 274-298, April.
- Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988.
"Income Distribution and Macroeconomics,"
51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
- Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
- Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, December.
- 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 1142-1165, December.
- Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "Social Class and the Spirit of Capitalism," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 516-524, 04/05.
- Freeman, Scott, 1996. "Equilibrium Income Inequality among Identical Agents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1047-1064, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2005cf383. 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: (CIRJE administrative office)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.