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Inequality as entitlements over labor

Segal, Paul (2022) Inequality as entitlements over labor. Socio-Economic Review, 20 (4). 1515 - 1538. ISSN 1475-1461

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ser/mwaa037

Abstract

The modern study of economic inequality is based on the distribution of entitlements over goods and services. But social commentators at least since Rousseau have been concerned with a different aspect of economic inequality: that it implies that one person is entitled to command another person for their own personal ends. I call this inequality as entitlements over labor. I propose to measure entitlements over labor by calculating the extent to which top income groups can afford to buy the labor of others for the purpose of their personal consumption. Unlike standard inequality measures, this measure is not welfarist, but instead has its normative basis in relations of domination, hierarchy and social status between people. I estimate entitlements over labor in three high-inequality and two low-inequality countries and argue that inequality as entitlements over labor is socially and politically salient, capturing a side of inequality neglected by standard measures.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/ser
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2023 11:03
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2024 20:00
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/117883

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