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Class Structure and Economic Inequality

  • Edward N. Wolff
  • Ajit Zacharias

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.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_487.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_487
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

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  1. 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.
  2. Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2006. "Household Wealth and the Measurement of Economic Well-Being in the United States," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_447, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1994. "Economic distance and overlapping of distributions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 147-159, March.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521564793 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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 313-29, September.
  6. 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 155-78, June.
  7. repec:rus:hseeco:15683 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. 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.
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