The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Erik Olin Wright
Reference work entry


To speak of a social inequality is to describe some valued attribute which can be distributed across the relevant units of a society in different quantities, where ‘inequality’ therefore implies that different units possess different amounts of this attribute. The units can be individuals, families, social groups, communities, nations; the attributes include such things as income, wealth, status, knowledge, power. The study of inequality then consists of explaining the determinants and consequences of the distribution of these attributes across the appropriate units.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Olin Wright
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