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Class Structure and Economic Inequality

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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 noncapitalist households are assigned class locations based on their position in the labor process. The schema is designed to address the question of the relationship between class structure and overall economic inequality. Our analysis of the U.S. data shows that class divisions among households, especially the large gaps between capitalist households and everyone else, contribute substantially to overall inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2007. "Class Structure and Economic Inequality," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_487, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_487
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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. 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.
    5. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1994. "Economic distance and overlapping of distributions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 147-159, March.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:rus:hseeco:15683 is not listed on IDEAS
    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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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. La desigualdad en Estados Unidos en términos de clase social
      by Alberto Garzón Espinosa in Pijus Economicus on 2010-05-27 17:41:21

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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. Linus Mattauch & Ottmar Edenhofer & David Klenert & Sophie Bénard, 2016. "Distributional Effects of Public Investment when Wealth and Classes are Back," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 603-629, July.
    6. Buzaglo, Jorge & Calzadilla, Alvaro, 2008. "Simulating extended reproduction: Poverty reduction and class dynamics in Bolivia," MPRA Paper 28749, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. repec:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0381-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2010. "Is There Room For Polarization?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(1), pages 7-22, March.
    14. repec:ilo:ilowps:470913 is not listed on IDEAS

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