Bichler & Nitzan, ‘Making America Great Again’

Abstract Trump has promised to Make America Great Again. As a self-proclaimed expert on everything of import, he knows exactly how to increase domestic investment and consumption, boost exports, reduce the country’s trade deficit, expand employment and bolster wages. And as America’s leader-and-policymaker-in-chief, he has taken the necessary steps to achieve every one of these […]

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Fix, ‘An Evolutionary Theory of Resource Distribution’

Abstract This paper explores how the evolution of human sociality can help us understand how we distribute resources. Using ideas from sociobiology, I argue that resource distribution is marked by a tension between two levels of natural selection. At the group level, selfless behavior is advantageous. But at the individual level, selfish behavior is advantageous. […]

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Fix, ‘Personal Income and Hierarchical Power’

Abstract This article examines the relation between personal income and hierarchical power. In the context of a firm hierarchy, I define hierarchical power as the number of subordinates under an individual’s control. Using the available case-study evidence, I find that relative income within firms scales strongly with hierarchical power. I also find that hierarchical power […]

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Are We Measuring Inequality the Wrong Way?

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In a recent blog post called “How Not to Measure Inequality”, the anthropologist Jason Hickel argues that economists measure inequality the wrong way. Hickel thinks that standard measures of inequality (such as the Gini index), underestimate global disparities. The problem, according to Hickel, is that […]

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2019/02.1: Fix, ‘How the Rich are Different: Hierarchical Power as the Basis of Income Size and Class’

Abstract This paper investigates a new approach to understanding personal and functional income distribution. I propose that hierarchical power — the command of subordinates in a hierarchy — is what distinguishes the rich from the poor and capitalists from workers. Specifically, I hypothesize that individual income increases with hierarchical power, as does the share of […]

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The Allure of Marxism … And Why It’s a Mistake

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix Karl Marx is probably the most important social scientist in history. But while his influence is beyond compare, Marx’s legacy is, in many ways, disastrous. Few thinkers have inspired so many people to commit crimes against humanity. Think of Stalinist gulags. Think of the Ukrainian […]

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2019/04: Hager and Baines, ‘Jurisdictional Tax Rates: How the Corporate Tax System Fuels Concentration and Inequality’

Abstract Corporate concentration in the United States has been on the rise in recent years, sparking a heated debate about its causes, consequences, and potential remedies. In this study, we examine a facet of public policy that has been largely neglected in current debates about concentration: corporate tax policy. As part of our analysis we […]

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Agent-Based Models and the Ghost in the Machine

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down Blair Fix In the opening post of this blog, I described my ‘top-down’ approach to studying society. This means studying groups of people without trying to reduce everything to the actions of individuals. It’s not that I think individual actions are unimportant. Of course they are important. […]

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Fix, Nitzan & Bichler, ‘Real GDP: The Flawed Metric at the Heart of Macroeconomics’

Abstract The study of economic growth is central to macroeconomics. More than anything else, macroeconomists are concerned with finding policies that encourage growth. And by ‘growth’, they mean the growth of real GDP. This measure has become so central to macroeconomics that few economists question its validity. Our intention here is to do just that. […]

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