(OPE-L) Re: tendencies for equalization

From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue Oct 19 2004 - 08:24:35 EDT

Ian W,

In response to my comment that we should not expect a long-
term "relative stability in wage disparities" you wrote "But I do not
expect that, and did not state that."  In the very next sentence you
wrote: "... we should expect wage disparities to be invariant in a
market economy ...."

You wrote:  "There is nothing here about a long-term trend to
narrow the wage dispersion, or stability of wage disparities."
There is a claim, though, that "we should expect wage disparities
to be invariant."   Please excuse me for thinking that the claim
that "we should expect wage disparities to be invariant"  was
synonymous with a claim that, "while wage dispersion will wax
and wane",  there  would be a long-term trend towards wage

You wrote that "the exponential distribution is a reasonable fit
for 90-95% for the income of all groups in  industrialised
countries over a period of several decades."  Yet, you have
not confronted the empirical evidence cited in the Arrighi
article which suggests that what you call "the usual functional
forms" might not have held during the time period that you
were referring to.

You write that "This empirical data is worth a thousand words,
whereas I am sceptical of anecdotes about the labour market."
Yet, surely, in a thousand words, shouldn't  a significant percentage
of that  magnitude be  devoted to a discussion of the limitations
and inadequacy of the data?  Without such a critical evaluation
 any claims about what are or are not "the usual functional
forms" have to be taken with a grain of salt.

I have expended a fair amount of time and energy over the last
few weeks trying to comprehend and critically discuss your
perspective.  If I have failed to adequately understand that
perspective, then perhaps part of the problem might be an
inability on my part to grasp what you were claiming _and_
an inability on your part to effectively and unambiguously
communicate your perspective.

In solidarity, Jerry

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