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Wealth inequality in Europe and the delusive egalitarianism of Scandinavian countries

Author

Listed:
  • Skopek, Nora
  • Buchholz, Sandra
  • Blossfeld, Hans-Peter

Abstract

Past sociological inequality research focused on (labor) market outcomes, while neglecting the even more important role of wealth. In our study we investigate the distribution of wealth among the elderly across Europe within the framework of Esping-Andersen’s typology of welfare states. Using SHARE data, our analyses suggest (1) that there is strong variation in the distribution of wealth between European countries, and (2) that patterns of wealth inequality differ strongly from patterns of income inequality. Surprisingly high levels of wealth disparity were found in the social democratic welfare regimes commonly known as very egalitarian societies. We conclude that Esping-Andersen’s scheme requires reconsideration because it is based on a one-sided understanding of social stratification not accounting for the central role of wealth in the stratification process.

Suggested Citation

  • Skopek, Nora & Buchholz, Sandra & Blossfeld, Hans-Peter, 2011. "Wealth inequality in Europe and the delusive egalitarianism of Scandinavian countries," MPRA Paper 35307, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:35307
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Dimitrios Christelis, 2011. "Imputation of Missing Data in Waves 1 and 2 of SHARE," CSEF Working Papers 278, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    7. Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-690, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Beer & Wiemer Salverda, 2014. "2014-16: Piketty in the Netherlands - The first reception," Labour markets and industrial relations in the Netherlands - Working Papers 2014-16, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    2. Vassiliki Koutsogeorgopoulou & Manos Matsaganis & Chrysa Leventi & Jan-David Schneider, 2014. "Fairly Sharing the Social Impact of the Crisis in Greece," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1106, OECD Publishing.
    3. repec:taf:rsocxx:v:11:y:2016:i:2-3:p:270-281 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. van Bavel, Bas, 2016. "The Invisible Hand?: How Market Economies have Emerged and Declined Since AD 500," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199608133.
    5. repec:nbp:nbpbik:v:48:y:2017:i:3:p:295-326 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; wealth; net worth; income; SHARE; stratification; welfare state; Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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