How the Rich are Different: Hierarchical Power as the Basis of Income and Class

How the Rich are Different: Hierarchical Power as the Basis of Income and Class
Fix, Blair. (2019). Working Papers on Capital as Power. No. 2019/02. April. pp. 1-79. (Article - Working Paper; English).


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Abstract or Brief Description

What makes the rich different? Are they more productive, as mainstream economists claim? I offer another explanation. What makes the rich different, I propose, is hierarchical power. The rich command hierarchies. The poor do not. It is this greater control over subordinates, I hypothesize, that explains the income and class of the very rich. I test this idea using evidence from US CEOs. I find that the relative income of CEOs increases with their hierarchical power, as does the capitalist portion of their income. This suggests that among CEOs, both income size and income class relate to hierarchical power. I then use a numerical model to test if the CEO evidence extends to the US general public. The model suggest that this is plausible. Using this model, I infer the relation between income size, income class, and hierarchical power among the US public. The results suggest that behind the income and class of the very rich lies immense hierarchical power.



Publication Type

Article - Working Paper


capital as power class functional income distribution hierarchy inequality personal income distribution


BN Power
BN Region - North America
BN Business Enterprise
BN Capital & Accumulation
BN Class
BN Comparative
BN Conflict & Violence
BN Distribution
BN Industrial Organization
BN Institutions

Depositing User

Jonathan Nitzan

Date Deposited

15 Apr 2019 15:34

Last Modified

20 May 2019 16:19


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