This paper is dedicated to the memory of Xiakai Yang, whose work on specialisation and the social division of labour inspired us in constructing the theory that is presented and discussed in this paper. This paper is an extended compilation of the formal theory developed in Gilles, Lazarova and Ruys (2006)
ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC ROLES AND SPECIALISATION*
Article first published online: 13 APR 2010
2006 The Economic Society of Australia
Economic Papers: A journal of applied economics and policy
Volume 25, Issue 2, pages 157–170, June 2006
How to Cite
GILLES, R. P., LAZAROVA, E. and RUYS, P. H. M. (2006), ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC ROLES AND SPECIALISATION. Economic Papers: A journal of applied economics and policy, 25: 157–170. doi: 10.1111/j.1759-3441.2006.tb00392.x
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 13 APR 2010
- Social division of labour;
Xiaokai Yang's theory of economic specialisation under increasing returns to scale is a formal development of the fundamental Smith-Young theorem on the extent of the market and the social division of labour. In this theory specialisation—and thus the social division of labour—is firmly embedded in a system of perfectly competitive markets. This leaves unresolved whether and how such development processes are possible in economies based on more primitive, non-market organisations.
In this paper we discuss a general relational model of economic interaction. Within this non-market environment we discuss the emergence of economic specialisation and eventually of economic trade and a social division of labour. We base our approach on three levels in organisational development: the presence of a stable relational structure; the presence of relational trust and subjective specialisation; and, finally, the emergence of objective specialisation through the institution and social recognition of economic roles.