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Social capital and the reproduction of economic inequality in polarized societies

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  • Mogues, Tewodaj
  • Carter, Michael

Abstract

This paper explores the idea of how wealth is distributed across social groups (ethnic or language groups, gender, etc.) and how such distribution fundamentally affects the evolution of economic inequality. By providing microfoundations suitable for this exploration, the paper hopes to enhance the understanding of when social forces contribute to the reproduction of economic inequality. In tackling this issue, the paper offers contributions in two domains. First, it models social capital as a real capital asset with direct use and collateral value. Second, it extends the concepts of identity, alienation and polarization used by Esteban and Ray (1994). This generalization permits consideration of the multiple characteristics that shape social identity, inclusion and exclusion. It also underwrites a higher-order measure of socioeconomic polarization that permits exploration of the hypothesis that economic inequality is most pernicious and persistent when it is socially embedded. Among other things the paper shows that holding constant the initial levels of economic polarization and wealth inequality, higher socioeconomic polarization increases subsequent income and wealth inequality. Far from being a distributionally neutral panacea for missing markets, social capital in this model may itself generate exclusion and deepen social and economic cleavages.

Suggested Citation

  • Mogues, Tewodaj & Carter, Michael, 2005. "Social capital and the reproduction of economic inequality in polarized societies," DSGD discussion papers 25, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:dsgddp:25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mogues, Tewodaj, 2008. "A two-dimensional measure of polarization:," IFPRI discussion papers 837, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Michael Carter & Peter Little & Tewodaj Mogues & Workneh Negatu, 2005. "Shocks, Sensitivity and Resilience: Tracking the Economic Impacts of Environmental Disaster on Assets in Ethiopia and Honduras," Development and Comp Systems 0511029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Chani, Muhammad Irfan & Hassan, Mahboob Ul & Shahid, Muhammad, 2012. "Human capital formation and economic development in Pakistan: an empirical analysis," MPRA Paper 38925, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Carter, Michael R. & Little, Peter D. & Mogues, Tewodaj & Negatu, Workneh, 2007. "Poverty Traps and Natural Disasters in Ethiopia and Honduras," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 835-856, May.
    5. Stephan Klasen & Nathalie Scholl & Rahul Lahoti & Sophie Ochmann & Sebastian Vollmer, 2016. "Inequality – Worldwide Trends and Current Debates," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 209, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    6. repec:nbr:nberch:13828 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Sommarat Chantarat & Christopher Barrett, 2012. "Social network capital, economic mobility and poverty traps," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(3), pages 299-342, September.
    8. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2008. "Social capital in the creation of human capital and economic growth: A productive consumption approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 2020-2033, October.
    9. Muhammad Chani & Sajjad Jan & Zahid Pervaiz & Amatul Chaudhary, 2014. "Human capital inequality and income inequality: testing for causality," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 149-156, January.
    10. Tewodaj Mogues, 2005. "Shocks, Livestock Asset Dynamics, and Social Capital in Ethiopia," Development and Comp Systems 0512006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Michael R. Carter & Marco Castillo, 2011. "Trustworthiness and Social Capital in South Africa: Analysis of Actual Living Standards Data and Artifactual Field Experiments," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 695-722.
    12. Santos, Paulo & Barrett, Christopher B., 2006. "Informal Insurance in the Presence of Poverty Traps: Evidence from Southern Ethiopia," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25487, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Ronelle Burger & Marisa Coetzee & Carina van der Watt, 2013. "Estimating the benefits of linking ties in a deeply divided society: considering the relationship between domestic workers and their employers in South Africa," Working Papers 18/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    14. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11437 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Equality ; Social capital ; economic distribution ;

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