Edited by Conchita D’Ambrosio
Chapter 17: Social inequality: theoretical approaches
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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