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A Note on the Hicksian Concept of Income

  • Ajit Zacharias The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

Empirical studies of intertemporal dynamics of individual income, distribution of personal income, and growth and distribution of national income are all based on statistics that rely on some concept of income. The dominant one today appears to be the so-called Haig-Simons-Hicks (HSH) concept of income. I examine the foundations of this concept in Hicks's Value and Capital and conclude that there is nothing "Hicksian" about the HSH concept of income. Furthermore, I argue that Hicks's failure to distinguish between definition and calculation, and the consequent lack of adequate ex post concepts, make it impossible for his income definitions to serve as a basis for income accounting. JEL Codes: D30, B21, B31.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0203003.

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Date of creation: 25 Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0203003
Note: Type of Document - Word; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP;
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Hicks, J. R., 1975. "Value and Capital: An Inquiry into some Fundamental Principles of Economic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780198282693, March.
  2. Smeeding, Timothy M & Weinberg, Daniel H, 2001. "Toward a Uniform Definition of Household Income," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(1), pages 1-24, March.
  3. Eisner, Robert, 1989. "Divergences of Measurement and Theory and Some Implications for Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 1-13, March.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521564793 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Musgrave, R.A., 1985. "A brief history of fiscal doctrine," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 1-59 Elsevier.
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