Inequality in the 21st Century

Edited by David B. Grusky and Jasmine Hill

First Edition • February 7, 2017 • 500 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813350646 • $75.00 USD$97.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813350653 • $50.99 USD$66.99 CAN

Courses: , , , , , ,

More by these authors: ,

Order an Exam or Desk Copy

Click here to read a sample
Why are so many types of inequality suddenly increasing? Should we be worried that we’re moving into a “second gilded age” with unprecedented levels of income inequality? In this new collection, David B. Grusky and Jasmine Hill present readings that lay bare the main changes in the social and economic landscape, what’s driving these changes, and what might be done to reverse them. This reader delivers the latest and most influential contributions on economic inequality, social mobility, educational inequality, racial and ethnic relations, and gender inequality.

The contributions span many fields and are authored by such top scholars as Emmanuel Saez (economist, UC Berkeley), Kathryn Edin (sociologist, Johns Hopkins), Raj Chetty (economist, Stanford), Florencia Torche (sociologist, NYU), Thomas Piety (economist, EHESS), and Lucien Bebchuk (law, Harvard).

The readings are thematically organized, and each section begins with an introduction from Grusky and Hill that place the selections within a broader context. The pieces are expertly excerpted, allowing readers to quickly understand the main forces at work, the debates still in play, and what’s still unknown. The resulting collection is a pitch-perfect introduction for undergraduates or anyone interested in learning why we’re entering a new era of inequality and what can be done to change the tide.

Instructor Resources

Classroom Discussion Questions are available for immediate download for professors using Inequality in the 21st Century in their course. The book’s editors have crafted 3-4 questions per Part to help stimulate discussion and prompt students to think about the topics they’ve read.
Download Discussion Questions (PDF, 30 KB)

Chapter Summaries, designed to help instructors guide students to the most important points of each chapter, are also available. Please fill out the online form, and a press representative will be in touch shortly to grant access.

If you have any questions or issues, please email

David B. Grusky is Barbara Kimball Browning Professor in the Humanities and Sciences, professor of sociology at Stanford University, and director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. His recent books include Occupy the Future, The New Gilded Age, The Great Recession, The Inequality Reader, Social Stratification, The Inequality Puzzle, The Declining Significance of Gender?, and Occupational Ghettos.

Jasmine Hill is a Ph.D. student at Stanford University with interests in African American identity, race relations, social mobility, and the sociology of the family.

Preface and Acknowledgments

1. David B. Grusky and Jasmine Hill
Poverty and Inequality in the 21st Century

Part I: The Classic Theory

2. Karl Marx
Classes in Capitalism and Pre-Capitalism

3. Max Weber
Class, Status, Party

4. W.E.B. Du Bois
Black Reconstruction and the Racial Wage

5. Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Women and Economics

Part II: The Great Takeoff in Income and Wealth Inequality

6. Emmanuel Saez
Striking it Richer

7. Thomas Piketty
Capital in the 21st Century

8. Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz
The Race Between Education and Technology

9. Robert Frank
Why is Income Inequality Growing?

10. Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

11. Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld
Unions, Norms, and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality

12. Richard Freeman
(Some) Inequality is Good For You

Part III: The One Percent

13. C. Wright Mills
The Power Elite

14. Alvin W. Gouldner
The Future of Intellectuals and the Rise of the New Class

15. David Brooks
Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There

16. Shamus Khan
Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite

Part IV: Poverty and the Underclass

The Everyday Life of the Poor

17. Barbara Ehrenreich
Nickel and Dimed

18. Kathryn Edin, Timothy Nelson, and Joanna Miranda Reed
Low-Income Urban Fathers and the “Package Deal” of Family Life

The Extent of Poverty in the U.S.

19. Sheldon Danziger and Christopher Wimer
The War on Poverty

20. Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer
Living on $2/Day

Why is There So Much Poverty?

21. Jack Shonkoff
Poverty and Child Development

22. William Julius Wilson
Being Poor, Black, and American

23. Douglas S. Massey & Nancy A. Denton
American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass

24. Ann Owens and Robert Sampson
Legacies of Inequality

25. Patrick Sharkey and Felix Elwert
Multigenerational Disadvantage
26. Matthew Desmond
Eviction and the Reproduction of Urban Poverty
27. Bruce Western and Becky Pettit
Incarceration and Social Inequality

Part V: Mobility and the American Dream

The Race for Education

28. Sean F. Reardon
The Widening Academic Achievement Gap Between the Rich and the Poor

29. Richard Breen, Ruud Luijkx, Walter Müller, & Reinhard Pollak
Nonpersistent Inequality in Educational Attainment

30. Michael Hout
Rationing College Opportunity

31. Stephen L. Morgan
A New Social Psychological Model of Educational Attainment

32. Josipa Roska and Richard Arum
Academically Adrift

Economic and Occupation Mobility

33. Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, and Emmanuel Saez
Economic Mobility

34. Florencia Torche
Does College Still Have Equalizing Effects?

35. Elizabeth Armstrong
Paying for the Party

36. Jay MacLeod
Ain’t No Makin’ It: Leveled Aspirations in a Low-income Neighborhood

37. Jan O. Jonsson, David B. Grusky, Matthew Di Carlo, and Reinhard Pollak
It’s a Decent Bet that our Children Will be Professors Too

Who Do You Know?

38. Mark S. Granovetter
The Strength of Weak Ties

39. Roberto M. Fernandez and Isabel Fernandez-Mateo
Networks, Race, and Hiring

Work and Mobility

40. Jacob Hacker
The Great Risk Shift

41. Jake Rosenfeld
Little Labor: How Union Decline is Changing the American Landscape

42. Ann Stevens
Jobs and Poverty

Part VI: Race, Ethnicity, and Inequality

Race as a Social Construct

43. Michael Omi and Howard Winant
Racial Formation in the United States

44. Aliya Saperstein and Andrew M. Penner
The Dynamics of Racial Fluidity and Inequality


45. Alejandro Portes & Min Zhou
The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and Its Variants

46. Tomás R. Jiménez
Why Replenishment Strengthens Racial and Ethnic Boundaries

Discrimination, Prejudice, and Stereotyping

47. Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan
Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination

48. Devah Pager
Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration

49. Claude Steele
Stereotype Threat and African-American Student Achievement

Race and Ethnicity in the 21st Century and Beyond

50. William Julius Wilson
The Declining Significance of Race: Blacks and Changing American Institutions

51. Reanne Frank, Ilana Redstone Akresh, and Bo Lu
How Do Latino Immigrants Fit into the Racial Order?

52. Mary Patillo
Black Picket Fences

53. Jennifer Lee
Tiger Kids and the Success Frame

Part VII: Gender, Sexuality, and Inequality

Gender and Sexuality as a Social Construct

54. Judith Lorber
The Social Construction of Gender

55. C.J. Pascoe and Tristan Bridges
Fag Discourse in a Post-Homophobic Era

The Division of Labor

56. Arlie Russell Hochschild
The Time Bind

57. Christine Percheski
Opting Out?

58. Asaf Levanon and David B. Grusky
Egalitarianism and Gender Inequality

How Much Discrimination is There?

59. Claudia Goldin and Cecilia Rouse
Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of “Blind” Auditions on Female Musicians

60. Shelley J. Correll, Stephen Benard, & In Paik
Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty?

How Gender Intersects

61. Margaret L. Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins
Why Race, Class, and Gender Matter

62. Andras Tilcsik
Do Openly Gay Men Experience Employment Discrimination?

A Stalling Out?

63. Paula England
The Gender Revolution: Uneven and Stalled

64. Cecilia Ridgeway
The Persistence of Gender Inequality

Part VIII: How Inequality Spills Over

65. Sean F. Reardon and Kendra Bischoff
Income Inequality and Income Segregation

66. Michael Hout and Daniel Laurison
The Realignment of U.S. Presidential Voting

67. Annette Lareau
Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life

68. Karen Lutfey and Jeremy Freese
The Fundamentals of Fundamental Causality

Part IX: Moving Toward Equality?

69. James J. Heckman
Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged Children

70. Carol Dweck
Why Late Investments Can Work

71. Joshua Cohen and Charles Sabel

72. Harry Holzer
Reducing Poverty the Pragmatic Way

73. Lucien Bebchuk and Jesse M. Fried
Tackling the Managerial Power Problem

74. Michelle Jackson
We Need to Have a Second Conversation

About the Editors

“The one book a sociologist needs to understand the broad scholarship on inequality.” — Shamus Khan, Columbia University

“The greatest strength of this edited collection is its topical organization of chapters that highlight the class system that has emerged in the United States, particularly over the past 40 years. [Inequality in the 21st Century] represents a sea change in the emerging social stratification literature–one that is necessary to keep current with the rising tsunami of inequality.” — William Haller, Clemson University

If you are a professor or course instructor, please use the following form to give us feedback on Inequality in the 21st Century: