Working Paper No. 487 | January 2007

Class Structure and Economic Inequality

Existing empirical schemas of class structure do not specify the capitalist class in an adequate manner. We propose a schema in which the specification of capitalist households is based on wealth thresholds. Individuals in noncapitalist households are assigned class locations based on their position in the labor process. The schema is designed to address the question of the relationship between class structure and overall economic inequality. Our analysis of the US data shows that class divisions among households, especially the large gaps between capitalist households and everyone else, contribute substantially to overall inequality.

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