Distribution concerns who gets what. But does “who” refer to the personal distribution of income among individuals or the functional distribution of income among suppliers of productive factors? For nearly 150 years, Anglophone distribution theory followed the Ricardian emphasis on functional distribution – the income shares of labor, land, and capital. Only beginning in the 1960s, and consolidated by a research outpouring in the early 1970s, does mainstream economics turn to the personal conception of distribution. This essay documents Anglophone (primarily American) economics’ move from functional to personal distribution, and tries to illuminate something of its causes and timing.
Goldfarb, R.S. and Leonard, T.C. (2005), "INEQUALITY OF WHAT AMONG WHOM?: RIVAL CONCEPTIONS OF DISTRIBUTION IN THE 20TH CENTURY", Samuels, W.J., Biddle, J.E. and Emmett, R.B. (Ed.) A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 23 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 75-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0743-4154(05)23003-1Download as .RIS
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