What You Need to Know About Economic Inequality

Reports on Research, Theories and Current Events

The relationship between economy and society, and in particular issues of economic inequality, have always been central to sociology. Sociologists have produced countless research studies on these topics, and theories for analyzing them. In this hub you'll find reviews of contemporary and historical theories, concepts, and research findings, as well as sociologically informed discussions of current events.

Why Are the Rich So Much Richer Than the Rest?

Find out why the wealth gap between those in the upper-income bracket and the rest is the largest in 30 years, and how the Great Recession played a major role in widening it.

What is Social Class, and Why Does it Matter?

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What's the difference between economic class and social class? Find out how sociologists define these, and why they believe both matter.

What is Social Stratification, and Why Does it Matter?

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Society is organized into a hierarchy shaped by the intersecting forces of education, race, gender, and economic class, among other things. Find out how they work together to produce a stratified society.

Visualizing Social Stratification in the U.S.

A businessman walks by a homeless woman holding a card requesting money on September 28, 2010 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

What is social stratification, and how do race, class, and gender affect it? This slide show brings the concept to life with compelling visualizations.

Who Was Hurt the Most by the Great Recession?

Pew Research Center finds that loss of wealth during the Great Recession and the rejuvenation of it during the recovery were not experienced equally. The key factor? Race.

What is Capitalism, Exactly?

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Capitalism is a widely used yet not often defined term. What does it actually mean? A sociologist provides a brief discussion.

Karl Marx's Greatest Hits

Visitors walk among some of the 500, one meter tall statues of German political thinker Karl Marx on display on May 5, 2013 in Trier, Germany. Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images

Karl Marx, one of the founding thinkers of sociology, produced a huge volume of written work. Get to know the conceptual highlights and why they remain important.

How Gender Affects Pay and Wealth

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The gender pay gap is real, and can be seen in hourly earnings, weekly earnings, annual income, and wealth. It exists both across and within occupations. Read on to learn more.

What's So Bad About Global Capitalism?

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Through research, sociologists have found that global capitalism does far more harm than good. Here are ten key critiques of the system.

Are Economists Bad for Society?

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When those directing economic policy are trained to be selfish, greedy, and downright Machiavellian, we've got a serious problem as a society.

Why We Still Need Labor Day, and I Don't Mean Barbecues

Walmart workers strike in Florida in September, 2013. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In honor of Labor Day, let's rally around the need for a living wage, full-time work, and a return to the 40-hour work week. Workers of the world, unite!

Studies Find Gender Pay Gap in Nursing and Children's Chores

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A study has found that men earn far more in the women-dominated field of nursing, and others show that boys are paid more for doing less chores than girls.

Sociology of Social Inequality

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Sociologists see society as a stratified system that is based on a hierarchy of power, privilege, and prestige, which leads to unequal access to resources and rights.

All About "The Communist Manifesto"

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The Communist Manifesto is a book written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848 and has since been recognized as one of the world's most influential political and economic manuscripts.

All About "Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America"

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Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America is a book by Barbara Ehrenreich based on her ethnographic research on low-wage jobs. Inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform at the time, she decided to immerse herself into the world of low-wage earning Americans. Read on to learn more about this landmark study.

All About "Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools"

Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools is a book written by Jonathan Kozol that examines the American educational system and the inequalities that exist between poor inner-city schools and more affluent suburban schools.

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Cole, Nicki Lisa, Ph.D. "What You Need to Know About Economic Inequality." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/economic-inequality-3026652. Cole, Nicki Lisa, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). What You Need to Know About Economic Inequality. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/economic-inequality-3026652 Cole, Nicki Lisa, Ph.D. "What You Need to Know About Economic Inequality." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/economic-inequality-3026652 (accessed June 8, 2023).