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RIYADH – La cuestión de la creciente desigualdad de ingresos tuvo una importante presencia en el Foro Económico Mundial de Davos este año. Como bien se sabe, la economía de Estados Unidos ha crecido significativamente en los últimos treinta años, pero no así el ingreso familiar medio. El 1% más alto (de hecho, el 0,01% más alto) ha captado la mayor parte de las ganancias, algo que es improbable que las sociedades continúen tolerando por mucho tiempo más.

Muchos temen que éste sea un fenómeno mundial originado por causas similares en todas partes, como argumenta el famoso libro Capital in the Twenty-First Century de Thomas Piketty. No obstante, esta proposición puede ser peligrosamente engañosa.

Es crucial diferenciar la desigualdad de la productividad entre empresas de la desigualdad en la distribución del ingreso dentro de una empresa. La batalla tradicional entre trabajo y capital se ha dado al interior de esta última: tanto obreros como empresarios han luchado por mejorar su tajada de la torta. Pero existe una profunda y sorprendente desigualdad de la productividad entre empresas, por lo que el tamaño de la torta a distribuir tiene enormes variaciones. Esto es especialmente cierto en los países en desarrollo, en los cuales es común encontrar diferencias en productividad de un factor de diez entre provincias o estados y mucho mayor a nivel municipal.

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