IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/amu/wpaper/2014-08.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What the Rich Won Over the Past 35 Years and What Everyone Else Lost

Author

Listed:
  • Jon D. Wisman
  • Aaron Pacitti

Abstract

The explosion in inequality since 1980 has quashed hopes that mature economic development would generate more equitable economic and social conditions. Although inequality is receiving increasing attention from academics and politicians, the focus has been mostly on income and wealth. This article provides a broader analysis by expanding the focus to what this dramatically greater inequality has meant in terms of peoples' lives; their relative status, their health and longevity, their opportunities and mobility, the quality of public goods, and the distribution of political power. It presents metrics and qualitative analysis of what, when seen more fully, the rich have gained and the non-rich have lost. To better grasp the amount of wealth captured by a small elite, the article ends with a depiction of what the $29 trillion in wealth gains by the top 10 percent could purchase in terms of public goods such as infrastructure, social security, health care, education and budget deficits.

Suggested Citation

  • Jon D. Wisman & Aaron Pacitti, 2014. "What the Rich Won Over the Past 35 Years and What Everyone Else Lost," Working Papers 2014-08, American University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2014-08
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1JWG2e3QvyCu-eSinX44TyRMBoHz01RYk
    File Function: First version, 2014
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. William Easterly, 2002. "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550423, January.
    2. repec:pri:cepsud:215krueger is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Peter Diamond & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 165-190, Fall.
    4. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas Mueller, 2011. "Job Search and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment: Evidence from High-Frequency Longitudinal Data," Working Papers 1283, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Christopher Brown, 2008. "Inequality, Consumer Credit and the Saving Puzzle," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12877.
    6. Jon D. Wisman, 2008. "Household Saving, Class Identitiy, and Conspicuous Consumption," Working Papers 2008-19, American University, Department of Economics.
    7. Easterlin, Richard A., 1981. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 1-17, March.
    8. Srinivasan, T.N., 1977. "Development, Poverty, and Basic Human Needs: Some Issues," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 02.
    9. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas Mueller, 2011. "Job Search, Emotional Well-Being and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment: Evidence from High-Frequency Longitudinal Data," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 1-81.
    10. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 235-255, May.
    11. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    12. repec:pri:indrel:dsp014j03cz656 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Adam Bonica & Nolan McCarty & Keith T. Poole & Howard Rosenthal, 2013. "Why Hasn't Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 103-124, Summer.
    14. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2013. "Defending the One Percent," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 21-34, Summer.
    15. Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2005. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 397-412, November.
    16. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1265-1306.
    17. repec:mes:jeciss:v:36:y:2002:i:2:p:449-457 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Robert Wade, 2013. "How High Inequality Plus Neoliberal Governance Weakens Democracy," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(6), pages 5-37.
    19. Barry P. Bosworth & Kathleen Burke, 2014. "Differential Mortality and Retirement Benefits in the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2014-4, Center for Retirement Research.
    20. Arthur B. Kennickell, 2006. "Currents and undercurrents: changes in the distribution of wealth, 1989-2004," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. repec:mes:jeciss:v:41:y:2007:i:2:p:583-592 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income inequality; wealth inequality; mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2014-08. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Meal). General contact details of provider: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.