The contributors to this volume investigate to what extent welfare has increased in the United States over the postwar period and provide a rigorous examination of both conventional measures of the standard of living, as well as more inclusive indices.
The chapters cover such topics as: race, home ownership and family structure; the status of children; the consumer price index; a historical perspective on the standard of living; worker rights and labor strength in advanced economies. In addition, they explore two economic systems delivering the goods – the free enterprise system of the United States and the European social welfare state. They then present international comparisons and highlight the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two systems.
The contributors to this comprehensive book compile and analyse the latest data available on household wealth using, as case studies, the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Finland during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century. The authors show that in the US, trends are highlighted in terms of wealth holdings, among the low-income population, along with changes in wealth polarization, racial differences in wealth holdings, and the dynamics of portfolio choices. The consensus between the authors is that wealth inequality has generally risen among these OECD countries since the early 1980s, although Germany stands out as an exception. In the case of the US, it is also noted that wealth holdings have generally failed to improve among low-income families and that the racial wealth gap widened during the late 1980s.