STUDY GUIDE - Sociology 101 Sociological Perspectives Final...

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Sociology 101 – Sociological Perspectives Final Exam Review #1 *According to Kenworthy in “Is Equality Feasible?,” must national governments choose between economies that produce low income inequality and high unemployment, versus those that lead to low unemployment and high income inequality? - there is a point where too much income equality could impede a desirable growth rate for an economy/society - there is no apparent trade off between low income inequality and high incomes at the bottom of the distribution or rapid growth of those incomes - high and low income inequality will produce similar GDP per capita - there is a positive association between earnings inequality and employment growth - It is possible for countries to combine high unemployment with low pay inequality o Nordic Strategy: rely on high levels of public employment to offset deficits in private sector Must maintain high levels of tax revenue What is the difference between inequality and unfairness? Under what conditions do people think of inequality as fair? Inequality: - unequal distribution of observable resources - The differences in people/experiences that you can objectively measure (in general) - Includes several dimensions – health, gender, income, wealth, housing segregation, education, age, etc. - Can change over time Unfairness: - the perception of inequality - a matter of social agreement - does not exist independently of someone’s perception of it - is subject to change as people’s attitudes change
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- most common justification for saying something is fair is to say that it is natural o what seems to be natural now is simply what we have gotten used to o hard to disprove Meritocracy: - where there is inequality that can be seen as fair because resources/opportunities are distributed based on peoples’ skills and abilities What can the Gini Coefficient be used to measure? - Used to measure inequality (statistical dispersion) - Commonly used for income and wealth, also used in health inequality - Line of Equality is a 45 degree line (represents perfect equality of income) o Under the line of equality is the Lorenzo Curve (exponential line) that plots the proportion of the total income of the population (y axis) that is cumulatively earned by x% of the population. o Can range from 0 to 1, where a low Gini coefficient means there is more equal distribution. o Analyzes characteristics of a group, not individuals - In 2000, the US had a income Gini coefficient of .37 According to Kenworthy in “Tax Myths,” why do most Western nations have total tax rates that are flat or regressive across income levels, despite progressive income taxes? - Income taxes are progressive, but they are offset by regressive payroll and consumption taxes o Because people with lower incomes spend more than they save, usually taxed more.
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