When did Inequality Rise in Britain and America?

  • Peter H. Lindert


New information and new perspectives reveal three long periods in which the two most-studies economies had a widening in income and wealth gaps. First, income inequality rose in both Britain and America between 1977 and 1995. In America, it regained the old pre-1929 levels, contrary to the official figures. Second, wealth and earnings gaps widened sometime in America between 1774 and 1913. Third, inequality rose in Britain from 1740 to 1810, earlier than others have suspected. This early widening reflects the role of severe relative price movements, which have been missed by the usual measures of (nominal) income inequality. {Copyright 2000 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved}.