Wealth in America: Trends in Wealth Inequality

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Wealth ownership in the United States has long been concentrated in the hands of a small minority of the population. Because of scarce data on wealth ownership, the nature of wealth ownership distribution and knowledge about wealth inequality has received relatively little attention from social scientists. Keister synthesizes theory and data from various sources to present a detailed picture of household wealth distribution from 1962-1995. Utilizing existing survey data and a unique simulation model, the author isolates and examines processes that create this distribution, paying particular attention to the wealth ownership and accumulation of top wealth holders, those who control the bulk of household wealth. The results underscore the importance of wealth as an indicator of well-being, identify important causes of wealth inequality, and propose methods of lessening the recent increase in the concentration of wealth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"While this is not a book about the theory of wealth distribution, it is timely given the growing importance of wealth ownership and recent congressional discussions of changes in inheritance taxes. This scholarly analysis of the extant data, written in a clear, technically precise manner, is recommended for collections serving upper-division undergraduates through researchers." Choice

"...Wealth in America, fills an important gap in the recent literature on inequality in America...The book is clearly and intelligently written and accessible to a wide audience—over and above academic economists and sociologists." Edward N. Wolff, New York University

"In sum, Wealth in America promises to become a valuable reference for a broad range of research on economic inequality." Bruce Western, Contemporary Sociology

"...an important work for students of wealth as well as for those interested in social stratification more generally." Chenoa Flippen, American Journal of Sociolgy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521621687
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2000
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Part I. Introduction: 1. Wealth and inequality; 2. Measuring trends in wealth inequality; Part II. Wealth Distribution: 3. Who owns what? the changing distribution of wealth; 4. The rich and their wealth; 5. The rest of the distribution: the middle class and poor; 6. Are Americans getting richer?; Part III. Wealth Accumulation: 7. The impact of social and economic trends on inequality; 8. Families and wealth inequality; 9. Wealth mobility; 10. Conclusions and implications; Appendix; References; Index.

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