Lecture Notes - Week 1; sociological explainations for the distribution of wealth and income


Lecture Notes - Week 1; sociological explanations for the distributions of wealth and income.

Wealth - the ownership of property, shares, savings etc. 


Marketable Wealth - Assets that can be disposed of (sold quickly) e.g shares, savings and personal possessions like cars and jewellery. 

Non-Marketable Wealth - Unsellable items e.g pensions for those below the pension age. 

Problems of measuring wealth;

  • can be easily hidden (tax havens)
  • government don't collect information on wealth for tax purposes
  • no wealth tax on living, inheritance tax on dead only
  • little survey research, low response and lack honesty

1945-1980; wealth more evenly distributed e.g housing, NHS, benefits, trade unions

1980-2000; wealth remained stable

since 2000; wealth inequality, higher austerity (cuts)


 - richest 10% own 44% of the wealth 

- poorest 10% own 0% of the wealth 

- richest 1% own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 55%

Income - a flow of money, weekly (wages) or monthly (salary). As well as earned income from a job, it can include unearned income e.g interest on savings, rent from land, benefits.


Original Income - money from all sources; work, investments, gifts, pensions, benefits.

Gross Income - all sources of income before deductions. 

Disposable Income - gross income after tax deductions.

Final Income - post-tax income plus non-cash benefits e.g medical…


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