A Relational Theory of Earnings Inequality

Dustin Avent-Holt, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most research on earnings adopts economist's human capital model. In doing so, social scientists, explicitly or implicitly, cede primacy to the labor supply and demand mechanisms of neoclassical economics. In contrast we develop a model that treats actors' claims as the central mechanism generating inequalities. In this model earnings are most proximately a result of negotiation between actors embedded in a set of social relations within organizations, a process we refer to as relational claims-making. Institutional and competitive aspects of organizational environments, as well as social distinctions within organizations themselves, provide resources and constraints on the persuasiveness and plausibility of wage claims by actors. Market mechanisms are not causally proximate to the production of wage inequality, but rather are an aspect of actor's environments with the potential to influence the plausibility of particular claims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-399
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014

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Salaries and Fringe Benefits
Economics
Organizations
wage
Negotiating
labor demand
market mechanism
labor supply
social scientist
Social Relations
economist
human capital
Research
resources
economics

Keywords

  • claims-making
  • earnings
  • relational inequality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

A Relational Theory of Earnings Inequality. / Avent-Holt, Dustin; Tomaskovic-Devey, Donald.

In: American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 58, No. 3, 01.03.2014, p. 379-399.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Avent-Holt, Dustin ; Tomaskovic-Devey, Donald. / A Relational Theory of Earnings Inequality. In: American Behavioral Scientist. 2014 ; Vol. 58, No. 3. pp. 379-399.
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