Much research and policy discussion over the past decade or two has argued for measures of wellbeing that are broader than the indicators of income and wealth previously used as the primary measures of human and social progress (e.g. Stiglitz et al. 2010, OECD 2013). There has also been a surge of interest in the measurement and welfare analysis of what is, in many countries, growing inequality of income and wealth (United Nations 2013, Atkinson 2015). But discussions about the measurement and consequences of inequality have thus far been focused mainly on the distribution of income and wealth, both within and across countries (Atkinson and Bourguignon 2014, Piketty 2014). Even where attention has been paid to other forms of inequality – for example, based on ethnicity, gender, health, or education (Putnam 2015) – little has been done to compare the sources or measure the relative importance of these diverse types of inequality.
If subjective wellbeing provides a better measure of welfare than that provided by income and wealth, should inequality in the distribution of subjective wellbeing not provide a superior measure of inequality? Should it not also be expected to reveal the combined consequences of various sorts of inequality?
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