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Growing Apart

A Political History of American Inequality

Colin Gordon, Author

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Introduction. The introduction lays out the basic dimensions of American inequality, tracing patterns of wage, income, and wealth inequality across our recent history. This section includes links to more detailed explorations of American wages, American incomes, American wealth, the demographics (race and gender) of inequality, spatial and generational patterns of inequality; and the costs of inequality.   

Usual Suspects. This section examines the conventional explanations for American inequality. The summary discussion includes links to more detailed explorations of globalization and inequality, technology and inequality, and demographic change and inequality.  

Differences That Matter: Public Policy and American Inequality.  This section presents the politics and policies (their change over time and their contrast with other settings) which have most directly contributed to widening inequality in the United States.  It is presented in eight parts, each of which offers a short history, an assessment of the contribution of each policy (or policy change) to inequality, and a comparison with peer countries. Links within each chapter offer background readings or further discussion of key issues or concepts. 

Conclusion. The conclusion assesses the relative contribution these policies to the larger pattern of inequality, and offers a short primer on the way forward.

Chartbook. Direct links to all charts, maps, and graphics.


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