This volume contains the revised and extended versions of papers originally presented at a symposium held in the summer of 1976 at Bad Homburg, West Germany. Of course, there have been many conferences focussing on the theme of income distribution during the past 15 years or so. In the past such efforts dealt primarily with the distribution of aggregates and with the distributive consequences of economic growth. More recently, however, the emphasis has moved away from theories that account solely for changes in aggregates toward explanatory paradigms whose focal point is the behavior of microanalytic decision units such as groups, families or even individuals, and its response to variables of government policies.
There are a good many reasons why this has come about. Among them is the large body of empirical evidence indicating that, in many industrialized countries, the overall picture of income distribution figures has changed surprisingly little since, say, 1960, despite sometimes substantial efforts of governmental agencies to reduce inequality of income by taxation and direct transfers, and despite the often heavy investments in human capital which have occurred during the last 20 years. All questions of measurement apart, difficult and sometimes controversial as they are, it is fairly clear that some rethinking of theoretical concepts as well as empirical experimentation is called for.
Since it is unlikely that a single grand design will provide definitive answers to the numerous and recalcitrant problems confronting us, the organizers of the symposium have attempted to select papers which taken together provide a rather comprehensive view of the many facets of current research on income distribution, as well as an outline for research paths to be followed.
The idea to hold the Bad Homburg symposium sprang from various sources. A first initiative was developed by Oldrich Kyn who discussed the prospects with the other editors. Credit must also be given to Professor Hans Moeller, member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in Munich, whose valuable advice during the gestation period is gratefully acknowledged. From this a close cooperation developed between Sonderforschungsbereich 21 at Bonn University and the Sozialpolitische Forschergruppe (SPES-Project) at Frankfurt. The local organization of the symposium was largely in the hands of the latter group. Financial support was generously given by the Werner-Reimers-Stiftung at Bad Homburg, which also provided its facilities which are so conducive to hard work in a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere at the foot of the Taunus mountains. The editors take great pleasure to express their 'gratitude to the Werner Reimers-Stiftung, especially to its general manager, Professor Konrad Mueller, as well as to the members of his staff.
Zvi Griliches Willhelm Krelle Hans-Juergen Krup 0ldrich Kyn