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 23: Diversity and social fractionalization: theoretical approaches

Mariateresa Ciommi, Ernesto Savaglio and Stefano Vannucci


Over the last decade, the assessment and measurement of diversity has increasingly become an object of interest for economists and other social scientists. The concept of diversity can be applied to a wide variety of contexts, spanning from biodiversity and conservation policies to socioeconomic diversity. The first main section of this chapter is devoted to the conceptualization and measurement of diversity. Alternative taxonomies proposed in the existing literature are discussed and the axiomatic approach to the analysis of diversity is illustrated. The second main section of the chapter is devoted to the measurement of fractionalization, namely to the analysis of diversity when the population is partitioned according to social characteristics, such as language, religion or nationality. The most relevant fractionalization indices are presented, highlighting the links with other disciplines such as ecology, biology and sociology.

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