Handbook of Research on Economic and Social Well-Being
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Handbook of Research on Economic and Social Well-Being

Edited by Conchita D’Ambrosio

The past decade has been characterized by a burgeoning interest in new concepts of individual and social well-being. The impetus for this new research has stemmed from increased demand from policy makers and civil society for measures of progress that go beyond the traditional measures of GDP, as well as improved datasets allowing individuals and households to be tracked over their life course. The aim of this Handbook is to chart these developments and provide extensive surveys of many of the recent themes that have emerged in the research literature. Some of the topics addressed include poverty. relative deprivation and satisfaction, economic insecurity, social exclusion and inequality, income and social polarization, and social fractionalization and diversity. Each topic is first analyzed from a theoretical perspective, followed by detailed empirical discussion.
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Chapter 17: Social inequality: theoretical approaches

Casilda Lasso de la Vega


There are variables other than income _ such as health, educational attainment, happiness, and so on _ that are often used to evaluate living standards in a society. This chapter deals with the measurement of inequality among these non-income variables, which are referred to as social variables. The chapter addresses the strand of research that has focused on the assessment of pure inequality of distributions of social variables, without considering the economic status of individuals. A second strand of research, namely socioeconomic inequality, has tried to relate inequality in social variables with income inequality. Although the measurement of pure inequality with social variables is closely related to the measurement of income inequality, the use of standard income inequality measurement procedures is not straightforward when the social variables are either ordinal or bounded cardinal variables. The chapter is devoted to reviewing results on the measurement of inequality with social variables of these two types.

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