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The Causes and Consequences of Increasing Inequality

Despite the economic boom of the 1990s, the gap between the wealthy and the poor in the United States is growing larger. While ample evidence exists to validate perceived trends in wage, income, and overall wealth disparity, there is little agreement on the causes of such inequality and what might be done to alleviate it.

This volume draws together a panel of distinguished scholars who address these issues in terms comprehensible to noneconomists. Their findings are surprising, suggesting that factors such as trade imbalances, immigration rates, and differences in educational resources do not account for recent increases in the inequality of wealth and earnings. Rather, the contributors maintain that these discrepancies can be attributed to workplace demand for high-skilled labor. They also insist that further research must examine the organization of industry in order to better understand the concurrent devaluation of manual labor.

Addressing a topic that is of considerable public interest, this collection helps move the issue of increasing economic inequality in America to the center of the public policy arena.

Contributors: Donald R. Deere, Claudia Goldin, Lawrence F. Katz, James P. Smith, Franco Peracchi, Gary Solon, Eric A. Hanushek, Julie A. Somers, Marvin H. Kosters, William Cline, Finis Welch, Angus Deaton, Charles Murray, Kevin Murphy

368 pages | 69 line drawings, 53 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2001

Bush School Series in the Economics of Public Policy

Economics and Business: Economics--Development, Growth, Planning

Political Science: Public Policy

Table of Contents

Introduction
Finis Welch
1. Trends in Wage Inequality in the United States
Donald R. Deere
2. Decreasing (and Then Increasing) Inequality in America: A Tale of Two Half-Centuries
Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz
3. Why Is Wealth Inequality Rising?
James P. Smith
4. Earnings Inequality in International Perspective
Franco Peracchi
5. Mobility within and between Generations
Gary Solon
6. Schooling, Inequality, and the Impact of Government
Eric A. Hanushek and Julie A. Somers
7. Government Policy and Wage Inequality: Regulation, Incentives, and Opportunities
Marvin H. Kosters
8. Trade, Immigration, and Wage Distribution
William Cline
9. Industrial Change and the Demand for Skill
Kevin Murphy and Finis Welch
10. Inequalities in Income and Inequalities in Health
Angus Deaton
11. IQ, Success in Life, and Inequality: The Ambiguous Merits of Meritocracy
Charles Murray
12. Wage Differentials in the 1990s: Is the Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?
Kevin Murphy and Finis Welch
List of Contributors
Index

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