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The Distribution of Wealth – Growing Inequality?

Michael Schneider, Honorary Research Fellow, Federation University, Mike Pottenger, University of Melbourne and J.E. King, Emeritus Professor, La Trobe University, Australia and Honorary Professor, Federation University Australia
This book is about the distribution of wealth among people, described by statisticians as the size distribution of wealth, and the way that this distribution has changed over time. It provides answers to a host of important questions including, why is the distribution of wealth important and how can it be measured? How unequal is this distribution in practice, and has the degree of inequality changed over time? What factors determine the level of inequality? What criteria can be used to rank alternative distributions of wealth and what instruments are available to a government that wishes to change the distribution? How is the distribution of wealth related to the aggregate amount of wealth? The answers have many dimensions, notably economic, statistical, ethical, political, sociological and legal.
Extent: 232 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78347 643 5
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Radical and Feminist Economics
  • Welfare Economics
This book answers a number of important questions about the distribution of wealth among people and the way that this distribution has changed over time. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the personal distribution of wealth from many dimensions: economic, statistical, ethical, political, sociological and legal.

Using data from 21 countries, the book demonstrates how inequality in the distribution of wealth varies between different parts of the world and how it evolves, with particular emphasis on the claim that there has been a long-term and continued increase in inequality since the 1970s in most countries. It discusses alternative ways of measuring the degree of inequality, analyses Thomas Piketty's claim that society has become more unequal in recent decades, and assesses the relative importance of the various determinants of the distribution of wealth. The authors explain why the distribution of wealth is unequal, and discuss how it could be changed with alternative policies and the possible consequences of these policies for economic efficiency. They also compare the different distributions of wealth that are implied by alternative views of society.

This is a valuable resource for students and academics in economics, political science and sociology seeking a state-of-the-art account of the theory and evidence surrounding inequality in the distribution of wealth.
‘Michael Schneider, doyen of wealth inequality, has teamed up with two talented coauthors to produce an authoritative work on this critical issue. Their book covers everything from 18th century Danish inequality to the ethics of wealth inequality. The Distribution of Wealth – Growing Inequality? is packed with data, insightful analysis and policy suggestions. The work is generous to other scholars, internationally focused and theoretically rich. If you care about the distribution of wealth – and all of us should – then this terrific book should be among your assets.’
– Andrew Leigh, Economist and Australian Parliamentarian

‘This second edition of The Distribution of Wealth thoroughly updates much of the material, reorganises material where it needed reorganising (particularly in relation to the case studies), and considerably extends the agenda to what really matters: the constant increase in wealth inequality.’
– Citizen’s Income Newsletter
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Measuring Inequality in the Distribution of Wealth 3. Empirical Studies of the Distribution of Wealth 4. Determinants of the Distribution of Wealth 5. Determinants of Changes in the Distribution of Wealth 6. Ranking Alternative Distributions of Wealth 7. How to Change the Distribution of Wealth 8. Equality versus Affluence? 9. Conclusion Bibliography Index