Table of Contents

The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

Social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key roles social values play in the economy and economic life. This second edition of the Elgar Companion to Social Economics revises all chapters from the first edition, and adds important new chapters to reflect the expansion and development of social economics. The expert contributions explain a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics in the field, mapping out possible directions of future social economic research. Social economics treats the economy and economics as embedded in a web of social and ethical relationships. It considers economics and ethics as essentially connected, and adds values such as justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom, and equality to the standard emphasis on efficiency. This book will be a leading resource and guide to social economics for many years to come.

Chapter 14: Income distribution and inequality

Frank A. Cowell

Subjects: business and management, business ethics and trust, economics and finance, institutional economics, methodology of economics, public sector economics, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy

Extract

The produce of the earth – all that is derived from its surface by the united application of labour, machinery, and capital, is divided among three classes of the community; namely, the proprietor of the land, the owner of the stock or capital necessary for its cultivation, and the labourers by whose industry it is cultivated. . . . To determine the laws which regulate this distribution, is the principal problem in Political Economy. (David Ricardo, On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. London: John Murray, 1817 (3rd edn 1821)). The central place that Ricardo accorded the subject of income distribution in nineteenth century political economy is appropriate also in twenty-first-century socio-economics. Although the field was relatively neglected by economists for several decades, in the last 15 years there has been a resurgence of interest driven partly by developments in economic theory and partly by major developments in the interpersonal income distributions within many developed countries (Atkinson, 1997).

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