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Top Income Shares and Aggregate Wealth-Income Ratio in a Two-Class Corporate Economy

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  • Soon Ryoo

    () (Department of Finance and Economics, Adelphi University)

Abstract

This paper examines some determinants of top income shares and the aggregate wealth-income ratio in the United States. The paper, first, points out the difficulties in Piketty’s neo-classical version of explanation of US income inequality, which stresses the effect of the rising aggregate wealth-income ratio and high elasticity of factor substitution. Second, the analysis, based on a Cambridge two-class model along the lines of Kaldor (1955/56, 1966) and Pasinetti (1962), highlights the role of financialization in increasing inequality. Third, the analysis suggests that the rise in the aggregate wealth-income ratio from 1980 to 2007 in the US is explained mostly by asset price inflation, not by technical relations. Finally, the analysis examines the effects of the slowdown in capital accumulation on income distribution and wealth-income ratios, which are very different from those in Piketty’s Capital in the twenty first century.

Suggested Citation

  • Soon Ryoo, 2016. "Top Income Shares and Aggregate Wealth-Income Ratio in a Two-Class Corporate Economy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2016-17, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2016-17
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicholas Kaldor, 1955. "Alternative Theories of Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 83-100.
    2. Soon Ryoo, 2016. "Inequality of Income and Wealth in the Long Run: A Kaldorian Perspective," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 429-457, May.
    3. Robert Rowthorn, 2014. "A note on Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(5), pages 1275-1284.
    4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    5. Luigi L. Pasinetti, 1962. "Rate of Profit and Income Distribution in Relation to the Rate of Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(4), pages 267-279.
    6. Eckhard Hein, 2012. "The Macroeconomics of Finance-Dominated Capitalism – and its Crisis," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14931, June.
    7. Soon Ryoo, 2016. "Household debt and housing bubbles: a Minskian approach to boom-bust cycles," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(5), pages 971-1006, December.
    8. Engelbert Stockhammer, 2004. "Financialisation and the slowdown of accumulation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(5), pages 719-741, September.
    9. Charles I. Jones, 2015. "Pareto and Piketty: The Macroeconomics of Top Income and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 29-46, Winter.
    10. Soon Ryoo & Peter Skott, 2008. "Financialization in Kaleckian Economies with and without Labor Constraints," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 357-386.
    11. Saez, Emmanuel & Zucman, Gabriel, 2014. "Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 10227, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Galbraith, James K., 2012. "Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199855650.
    13. Till van Treeck, 2009. "A synthetic, stock--flow consistent macroeconomic model of 'financialisation'," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 467-493, May.
    14. Simon Mohun, 2006. "Distributive shares in the US economy, 1964--2001," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(3), pages 347-370, May.
    15. Thomas Piketty & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700–2010," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1255-1310.
    16. Peter Skott & Soon Ryoo, 2008. "Macroeconomic implications of financialisation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(6), pages 827-862, November.
    17. Nicholas Kaldor, 1966. "Marginal Productivity and the Macro-Economic Theories of Distribution: Comment on Samuelson and Modigliani," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 309-319.
    18. Paul A. Samuelson & Franco Modigliani, 1966. "The Pasinetti Paradox in Neoclassical and More General Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 269-301.
    19. Skott, Peter, 1981. "On the 'Kaldorian' Saving Function," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 563-581.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    top income share; wealth-income ratio; financialization; top management pay; stock-flow consistency;

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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