Changing Income Inequality in the Second Half of the 20th Century Preliminary Findings and Propositions for Explanations

Volker Bornschier


There exists a rather widespread professional consensus that income inequality both within and between societies in the world system has increased over the last quarter of a century. This, however, does not represent a secular trend since inequality between WWII and the 1970s was rather stable or decreasing. For the increasing inequality both within and between societies since the 1970s we present fresh evidence which helps to settle open questions of previous research. Less consensus has been achieved until now with regard to explanations. Arguing that monocausal explanatory schemes are of little help, the paper suggests eight propositions for an explanation. The evaluation of them is also enriched by diverse pieces of preliminary empirical evidence. The paper also brie?y considers which factors are responsible for a rather transitory increase and those which suggest a lasting higher level of inequality in the world.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Volker Bornschier

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