From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Thu Oct 28 2004 - 13:17:49 EDT
Hi Jerry > 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 ...." No Jerry, your comment was "we would expect -- given existing inequalities -- that if there were such a tendency than it would manifest itself empirically in a long-term _decline_ in wage disparities rather than relative stability in wage disparities." The emphasis is yours. The "decline" is what I would not expect, and what I did not state. This was very clear in my last post. > 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 > stability. I think this is the first occasion when I used less than clear phrasing, so my apologies for any confusion caused. My point was that the two possible empirical manifestations of the tendency to equalise that I suggested (narrower dispersion than otherwise, unimodality) are not claims about a historical decline in the dispersion, or about wage stability. I think the functional form is stable over time based on the empirical evidence I've surveyed. The parameters change however. > > 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. But the Arrighi article, which I found interesting, does not cite empirical evidence that connects with my claims about the empirical manifestation of the tendency to equalise. Neither does it talk about the functional forms of the income distribution in China. I would be very interested if anyone has any pointers to empirical surveys of the functional form of the income distribution in China. It may indeed have different features due to its transition from a command economy with high employment in agriculture. A brief search on the web didn't yield much. Best wishes, -Ian.
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