1. Use the readings (specifically The Wealth Inequality Reader (TWER) and The State of Working America (TSOWA) to answer the following questions.
1. INCOME DISTRIBUTION and ECONOMIC POLICY.
a. In one paragraph, explain the actual distribution over time of income in the U.S. as is laid out in TSOWA. Explain how the neoclassical view justifies income distribution (TWER pg 47).
b. Attempt to come up with a theory that explains the structures that enforce the current distribution using the reality of U.S. policy including but not limited to tax policy (TWER page 39), union policy, trade policy, unemployment policy, minimum wage policy, (all in SOWA) and economic stability (pick at least 3 to explain). (See the chapter “Inequality, Power and Ideology,” pg 22 in TWER.)
c. Which groups are represented amongst those influencing and making policy in the US? (See the chapter “Inequality, Power and Ideology,” pg 22 in TWER.)
2. GROWTH/INEQUALTIY TRADEOFF (5 points)
What are the arguments surrounding inequality and growth from the neoclassical economic perspective and from an alternative perspective? See “Geese, Golden Eggs, and Trapps” in TWER, pg 106, and refer to the Scully article on Canvas. What evidence is available to support arguments either way? Use the Lindert article on Canvas or any info that you can reference on the performance of the economy during eras of lower inequality vs. those of higher.
3. SOCIAL STRUCTURES AND CULTURE AT PLAY or SOMETHING ELSE? (5 points) Recall the arguments for the distribution of income according to the neoclassical theory. If CEO compensation relative to average worker pay is vastly different in the US from the ratio in other historical circumstances and countries, what does this mean about the arguments for the distribution of income? (see TWER pg. 47).
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