A Note on the Hicksian Concept of Income
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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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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