Some readings on income inequality



As we start, we’ll be talking about the distribution of income in Canada and around the world. In class, we’ll be talking about the conditions that give rise to a distribution of income within an economy. Much of this discussion will be geared towards furthering our understanding the cause, role and consequences of income inequality.

Towards this end, here are some readings to start considering:

  1. Overview of income inequality in Canada
  2. Data on incomes in Canada
  3. Growing inequality in Canada
  4. Discussion on income inequality in Canada
  5. Joseph Stiglitz on degrees of income inequality
  6. Some graphics on U.S. income inequality

When we think of income inequality, we are often engaging in discussions regarding poverty and public policies targeting the alleviation of poverty. Here are some readings on poverty in Canada:

  1. Low incomes lines for 2011-2012
  2. Low income among children
  3. Income dynamics of individuals with low incomes

Work on international comparisons of inequality:

  1. Is the world becoming more unequal
  2. Global income inequality (World Bank)
  3. International differences in low paid work
  4. Cross-national comparisons of inequality

Some readings on the consequences of inequality:

  1. Health consequences
  2. Socioeconomic effects
  3. Efficiency and equality
  4. Inequality and violent crime
  5. Respect and inequality
  6. The Human Development Index (HDI)

What I’m reading on the topic of social problems

Currently, as I’m teaching The Economics of Social Problems, I find myself reading (and re-reading) a few books on the topic. Two of these are novels (i.e., not really appropriate sources for term papers in Econ 349); one is a memoir.

I just finished reading Warren Miller’s The Cool World (1959), a novel about gangs in New York. The book was made into a movie that you can watch here. (Soundtrack by Dizzy Gillespie.)

I’m also reading Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. It’s an interesting look at life inside a federal prison and is striking in documenting how many people are in prison for the (what seem to me like) minor drug offenses.  As we’ll discuss in class, there are various means by which one can engage in deterrence and this book makes the case for re-thinking the war on drugs and the use of mandatory minimum sentences.

Finally, I’m re-reading Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. This is a great book by a great writer, painting a haunting picture of race relations, poverty, and social exclusion in the United States. It’s listed as one of the top 100 novels of the 20th century.