Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Wealth inequality and stratification by social classes in 21st-century Europe

Gil-Hernández, Carlos J., Salas Rojo, Pedro, Vidal-Lorda, Guillem and Villani, Davide (2024) Wealth inequality and stratification by social classes in 21st-century Europe. III Working Papers (135). International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

[img] Text (III-WP-135) - Published Version
Download (3MB)


Wealth is a central determinant of life chances and intergenerational status persistence in modern societies. Yet, sociologists traditionally overlooked its role in class measurement and inequality, while most economists focused on the elites. This article reconciles sociological and economic perspectives on class analysis by examining the relationship between classes and wealth inequality versus income. Drawing from the Luxembourg Wealth Study (2002-2018) in five European countries, we test whether occupational classes, based on the entire division of labour, keep up with rising economic inequality trends. In contrast to bold claims on class death or decomposition, inequality of outcomes in wealth accumulation is firmly rooted across occupational classes in contemporary capitalism, potentially harming future equal opportunity and social mobility. Still, occupational classes better capture between-group income inequality and stratification than wealth, emphasising the importance of economic resources beyond labour market attachment that spark advances in social class theory and measurement.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: International Inequalities Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2024 08:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:35

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics