Wealth and the Wealthy

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-02-15
  • Publisher: Policy Pr
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The wealthy have received relatively little attention from social scientists despite the growing gap between rich and poor. A much-needed step forward for the wealth debate, Wealth and the Wealthy draws on new data to answer the following key questions: What is wealth? Who has it? Where might we draw a wealth line? Who would be above it? And how should policy address wealth and the wealthy? Karen Rowlingson and Stephen McKay comprehensively and critically examine these issues and explore potential policy responses, including asset-based welfare and taxation.

Author Biography

Karen Rowlingson is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include personal finance and inequality. Stephen Mckay is Professor of Social Research in the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. He has particular expertise in the secondary analysis of complex datasets in relation to, social security, inequality and wealth.

Table of Contents

List of tables and figuresp. vii
Acknowledgementsp. x
About the authorsp. xi
Introductionp. xii
Why wealth mattersp. 1
Introductionp. 1
From collective welfare to individual assetsp. 2
The role of assets in people's livesp. 8
Is there an asset effect?p. 12
Conclusionsp. 16
Why the wealthy matterp. 19
Introductionp. 19
The increasing concentration of income and wealthp. 20
Is the concentration of income and wealth a social problem?p. 25
Is the concentration of income and wealth good or bad for the economy?p. 32
Un/equal opportunities and un/fair rewardsp. 37
Attitudes to the gap between rich and poorp. 45
Conclusionsp. 49
What is wealth and who are the wealthy?p. 53
Introductionp. 53
Conceptualising and defining wealthp. 53
Measuring wealthp. 56
Conceptualising and defining the wealthyp. 63
Measuring the wealthyp. 74
Conclusionsp. 79
The distribution of wealthp. 81
Introductionp. 81
The distribution of wealthp. 81
Combining income and assetsp. 92
The distribution of assets by age, ethnicity and regionp. 93
Gender and the within-household distribution of wealthp. 101
Inheritance and unearned wealthp. 107
Conclusionsp. 112
The rich, the richer and the richestp. 115
Introductionp. 115
The richp. 116
The richerp. 126
The richestp. 130
Philanthropy and charitable givingp. 136
Conclusionsp. 143
Towards a comprehensive policy on assetsp. 145
Introductionp. 145
The goals of a comprehensive policy on assetsp. 146
Asset-based welfare policies, proposals and perspectivesp. 153
Policies on housing wealthp. 160
Pensions policyp. 171
Taxing assets in the UKp. 176
Within-household distribution of assetsp. 181
Conclusionsp. 183
Social policy and the wealthyp. 187
Introductionp. 187
The goals of policy on richesp. 188
Equal opportunity policyp. 194
Taxation policyp. 199
Policies for original income and wealthp. 210
Conclusionsp. 217
Conclusionsp. 219
Referencesp. 225
Indexp. 247
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