Redistributing Income Through Hierarchy

Redistributing Income Through Hierarchy
Fix, Blair. (2021). Real-World Economics Review. No. 98. December. pp. 58-86. (Article - Journal; English).

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Abstract or Brief Description

Although the determinants of income are complex, the results are surprisingly uniform. To a first approximation, top incomes follow a power-law distribution, and the redistribution of income corresponds to a change in the power-law exponent. Given the messiness of the struggle for resources, why is the outcome so simple?

This paper explores the idea that the (re)distribution of top incomes is uniform because it is shaped by a ubiquitous feature of social life, namely hierarchy. Using a model first developed by Herbert Simon and Harold Lydall, I show that hierarchy can explain the power-law distribution of top incomes, including how income gets redistributed as the rich get richer.



Publication Type

Article - Journal


corporation despotism government hierarchy income distribution inequality power


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

Depositing User

Jonathan Nitzan

Date Deposited

16 Dec 2021 20:58

Last Modified

17 Dec 2021 16:58


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