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Gendering inequality: a note on Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Perrons, Diane (2014) Gendering inequality: a note on Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century. British Journal of Sociology, 65 (4). pp. 667-677. ISSN 0007-1315

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1468-4446.12114


Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is remarkable for moving inequality from the margins to mainstream debate through detailed analysis of longitudinal statistics and, for an economist, by advocating an interdisciplinary perspective and writing in a witty and accessible style.With reference to the post 1970 period, when wage increases are largely responsible for the increase in inequality, Piketty shows how patrimonial capitalists (elite managers) in the top decile and centile of the distribution appropriate a growing share of social wealth as a consequence of their ‘power to set their own remuneration’ in the context of tolerant social norms rather than through their productive contributions. Piketty raises but defers the question of where these social norms come from to other disciplines. A Feminist Economics perspective indicates that these questions are central to a more inclusive form of economic analysis and such an approach would enrich Piketty’s analysis in two main ways. First, by paying greater attention to the processes and social norms through which inequalities are produced and justified and second by highlighting the ways in which inequality is experienced differently depending not only on class, but also on other aspects of identity including gender. This approach also suggests that it is necessary to supplement the ex-post redistributive policies recommended by Piketty: a global wealth tax and more steeply progressive income tax, with ex-ante measures to stop the rise in wage inequality in the first place, especially by bridging the huge gulf that exists between those who care for people and those who manage money.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 London School of Economics and Political Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Gender Institute
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2018 15:15
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2018 15:15

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