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Class structure and economic inequality

Author

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  • Edward N. Wolff
  • Ajit Zacharias

Abstract

Existing empirical schemas of class structure do not specify the capitalist class in an adequate manner. We propose a schema in which the specification of capitalist households is based on wealth thresholds. Individuals in non-capitalist households are assigned class locations based on their position in the social labour process. The schema is designed to address the question of the relationship between class structure and overall economic inequality in the United States. Although the major portion of inequality occurs within classes, inter-class inequality, especially the large gaps between capitalist households and everyone else, contributed substantially to the rise in overall inequality. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2013. "Class structure and economic inequality," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(6), pages 1381-1406.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:37:y:2013:i:6:p:1381-1406
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bet026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shujie Yao, 1999. "On the decomposition of Gini coefficients by population class and income source: a spreadsheet approach and application," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(10), pages 1249-1264.
    2. Milanovic, Branko & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Decomposing World Income Distribution: Does the World Have a Middle Class?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(2), pages 155-178, June.
    3. Yitzhaki, Shlomo & Lerman, Robert I, 1991. "Income Stratification and Income Inequality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(3), pages 313-329, September.
    4. Richard Hogan, 2005. "Was Wright Wrong? High-Class Jobs and the Professional Earnings Advantage," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(3), pages 645-663.
    5. Edward Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2009. "Household wealth and the measurement of economic well-being in the United States," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 7(2), pages 83-115, June.
    6. repec:rus:hseeco:15683 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1994. "Economic distance and overlapping of distributions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 147-159, March.
    8. Jonathan P. Goldstein, 2006. "Marxian Microfoundations: Contribution or Detour?," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 569-594, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Setterfield, Mark & Kim, Yun K., 2016. "Debt servicing, aggregate consumption, and growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 22-33.
    2. Mark Setterfield & Yun K. Kim & Jeremy Rees, 2016. "Inequality, Debt Servicing and the Sustainability of Steady State Growth," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 45-63, January.
    3. Jackson, Tim & Victor, Peter A., 2016. "Does slow growth lead to rising inequality? Some theoretical reflections and numerical simulations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 206-219.
    4. Antonella D’Agostino & Andrea Regoli & Giancarlo Cornelio & Fabio Berti, 2016. "Studying Income Inequality of Immigrant Communities in Italy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 83-100, May.
    5. Buzaglo, Jorge & Calzadilla, Alvaro, 2008. "Simulating extended reproduction: Poverty reduction and class dynamics in Bolivia," MPRA Paper 28749, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Thomas Goda & Özlem Onaran & Engelbert Stockhammer, 2014. "A case for redistribution? Income inequality and wealth concentration in the recent crisis," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 012186, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
    7. Buzaglo, Jorge & Calzadilla, Alvaro, 2010. "La pobreza y las clases: Dinámicas y estrategias en Bolivia
      [Poverty and class: Dynamics and strategies in Bolivia]
      ," MPRA Paper 28750, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Julia Hofmann & Miriam Rehm & Syed Ali Asjad Naqvi & Julia Hofmann & Miriam Rehm & Syed Ali Asjad Naqvi, 2016. "Different but Equal? Classes, Wealth, and Perceptions in Europe," Working Paper Reihe der AK Wien - Materialien zu Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 160, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik.
    9. Naqvi, Syed Ali Asjad, 2015. "Modeling Growth, Distribution, and the Environment in a Stock-Flow Consistent Framework," Ecological Economic Papers 4468, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    10. Guschanski, Alexander & Onaran, Özlem, 2017. "The political economy of income distribution: industry level evidence from 14 OECD countries," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 17518, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    11. repec:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0381-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:ilo:ilowps:470913 is not listed on IDEAS

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