Sunday, January 20, 2019

A global macroeconomics – yes, macroeconomics, dammit – of inequality and income distribution

Below the text of the first Godley-Tobin Lecture by James K. Galbraith.

According to an approximate count, there are 848 sub-categories in the classification codes of the Journal of Economic Literature. Of these, five relate to income inequality. Two are classed under Microeconomics: D31 ‘Personal Income, Wealth and Their Distribution’ and D33 ‘Factor Income Distribution.’ Two are classed under ‘Health, Education and Welfare’: I14 ‘Health and Inequality’ and I24 ‘Education and Inequality.’ One is classed under Labor: J31 ‘Wage Level and Structure/Wage Differentials.’

Under Macroeconomics there is nothing, unless you count E25 ‘Aggregate Factor Income Distribution,’ which surely means the analysis of factor shares – Wages, Profits, Rent – also known as the functional distribution. Under International Economics there is no reference to inequality at all. Nor under Development Economics. Simon Kuznets, whose immortal 1955 presidential lecture predates – I believe – the JEL classification scheme, is spinning in his grave.

So if your interest is in the global macroeconomics of inequality – in the personal or household distribution or pay structures considered over time and across continents and countries, you are what is known in the technical literature as shit-out-of-luck. From a formal standpoint. So far as the American Economic Association is concerned, affecting the structure of journals and the assignment of referees, you have nowhere to publish, no place to go. It is, therefore, nice to be here.

Read rest here.

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