Inequality Analysis: Overview

Guillermina Jasso

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


    Inequality is pervasive in the social life, and understanding it is a central task for the social sciences. This article provides an overview of inequality analysis, discussing the framework with its questions and building blocks and surveying the twin branches of theoretical inequality analysis and empirical inequality analysis, the latter only briefly given that dozens of other articles discuss empirical studies of inequality. Substantively, this article identifies two main types of inequality - inequality between persons and inequality between subgroups - and highlights the fundamental questions concerning the determinants and consequences of inequality. Methodologically, it summarizes the major tools for measuring both kinds of inequality, including both scalar measures and whole-distribution approaches. To illustrate theoretical inequality analysis, the article reviews recent examples of a priori explorations, including mechanisms for altering inequality.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
    PublisherElsevier Inc.
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
    ISBN (Print)9780080970868
    StatePublished - Mar 26 2015


    • Absolute rank
    • Assortative mating
    • Atkinson's measures
    • Coefficient of variation
    • Continuous univariate distributions
    • Correlation and covariance
    • Decompositions
    • Fairness
    • Gini's measures
    • Justice
    • Lognormal distribution
    • Lorenz curve
    • Pareto distribution
    • Power-function distribution
    • Relative amount
    • Relative rank
    • Theil's measures
    • Variance

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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