Wealth and Economic Inequality

James B. Davies

in The Oxford Handbook of Economic Inequality

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606061
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

 Wealth and Economic Inequality

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  • Economics
  • Labour and Demographic Economics
  • Public Economics


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This article surveys the distribution of wealth and its relationship to economic inequality more broadly. It shows that wealth inequality is high and contributes significantly to inequality in income and consumption, although higher wealth inequality is not always an indicator of greater inequality in well-being. In particular, welfare state policies can improve the well-being of low income groups while at the same time reducing their incentive to save. This may lead to high observed wealth inequality in places where it would otherwise not be expected, such as some of the Scandinavian countries. More research is needed to better illuminate such connections between public policy and wealth inequality.

Keywords: income inequality; consumption inequality; welfare states; low income groups; Scandinavia; public policy

Article.  9866 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Labour and Demographic Economics ; Public Economics

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