Inequality has been one of the key topics during the past years, not only in academia but also in public discourse. The discourse is dominated by economists, even though inequality has formed the core of sociology ever since its emergence in the nineteenth century. The classics of sociology, from Marx and Durkheim to Weber and Bourdieu, wrote their most famous works on inequality. Up to this day, inequality is the most important sub-discipline of sociology in most countries of the world. Economic thought has chosen a detour to arrive at the topic of inequality. First, the effort by the classics of economics has been devoted chiefly to develop paradigmatic models emphasizing the impact of distribution on crucial economic outcomes, such as growth and efficiency. Second, since income and wealth distribution have been considered among the main determinants of potential inequality in the economic realm, a deeper analysis of their impact on inequality has been left to the specialized interest and feelings of a few scholars in the application of their favored paradigmatic model. The majority of economists have remained disinterested in the topic of inequality. However, in the past decade or two, inequality has become a key topic for economists as well. Economics is presenting us a broad and impressive account of inequality today. For instance, this is true not only for the Thomas Piketty book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century (2014), but also for the White Paper of David Autor and Lawrence Katz, Grand Challenges in the Study of Employment and Technological Change (2010), focusing on polarization, another way for tackling inequality. Piketty begins his book with the clarification that it can only shed light on some aspects of inequality, since other aspects have to be covered by sociology. However, according to him, the sociological literature that would be needed is missing. How is this assessment possible, since inequality is the core topic of sociology? There are two main answers to this question. First, research on inequality is dominated by international organizations, such as the World Bank or UNDP, and these employ mainly economists and not sociologists. Furthermore, the economists do not read sociology. If Piketty had looked more closely, he would have found literature addressing exactly the points he brings up in his book. However, this lack of communication is not only due to individual shortcomings of some economists. It is a general phenomenon. And it is not only a flaw on the part of the economists. Sociologists have created their own jargon and seem to try very little to cross the boundaries of their discipline.

Introduction

ANTONELLI, GILBERTO;
2017

Abstract

Inequality has been one of the key topics during the past years, not only in academia but also in public discourse. The discourse is dominated by economists, even though inequality has formed the core of sociology ever since its emergence in the nineteenth century. The classics of sociology, from Marx and Durkheim to Weber and Bourdieu, wrote their most famous works on inequality. Up to this day, inequality is the most important sub-discipline of sociology in most countries of the world. Economic thought has chosen a detour to arrive at the topic of inequality. First, the effort by the classics of economics has been devoted chiefly to develop paradigmatic models emphasizing the impact of distribution on crucial economic outcomes, such as growth and efficiency. Second, since income and wealth distribution have been considered among the main determinants of potential inequality in the economic realm, a deeper analysis of their impact on inequality has been left to the specialized interest and feelings of a few scholars in the application of their favored paradigmatic model. The majority of economists have remained disinterested in the topic of inequality. However, in the past decade or two, inequality has become a key topic for economists as well. Economics is presenting us a broad and impressive account of inequality today. For instance, this is true not only for the Thomas Piketty book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century (2014), but also for the White Paper of David Autor and Lawrence Katz, Grand Challenges in the Study of Employment and Technological Change (2010), focusing on polarization, another way for tackling inequality. Piketty begins his book with the clarification that it can only shed light on some aspects of inequality, since other aspects have to be covered by sociology. However, according to him, the sociological literature that would be needed is missing. How is this assessment possible, since inequality is the core topic of sociology? There are two main answers to this question. First, research on inequality is dominated by international organizations, such as the World Bank or UNDP, and these employ mainly economists and not sociologists. Furthermore, the economists do not read sociology. If Piketty had looked more closely, he would have found literature addressing exactly the points he brings up in his book. However, this lack of communication is not only due to individual shortcomings of some economists. It is a general phenomenon. And it is not only a flaw on the part of the economists. Sociologists have created their own jargon and seem to try very little to cross the boundaries of their discipline.
Inequality in economics and sociology: New perspectives, 2017, pp. 1-4.
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Antonelli, Gilberto; Rehbein, Boike
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/593741
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