Community and Class Antagonism

52 Pages Posted: 27 May 2008

See all articles by Indraneel Dasgupta

Indraneel Dasgupta

Durham University - Department of Economics and Finance; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: June 2007

Abstract

We investigate how vertical unity within a community interacts with horizontal class divisions of an unequal income distribution. Community is conceptualized in terms of a public good to which all those in the community have equal access, but from which outsiders are excluded. We formulate the idea of redistributive tension, or class antagonism, in terms of the costs that poorer individuals would be willing to impose on the rich, to achieve a given gain in personal income. Our conclusion is that the nominal distribution of income could give a misleading picture of tensions in society, both within and across communities. Ideologies of community solidarity may well trump those of class solidarity because of the implicit sharing of community resources brought about by community-specific public goods. Greater economic mobility of particular types may actually exacerbate class tensions instead of attenuating them. We illustrate our theoretical results with a discussion of a number of historical episodes of shifting class tensions and alliances.

Keywords: Class Conflict, Community, Distribution, Ethnic Conflict, Inequality, Public Goods

JEL Classification: D31, D63, D74, Z13

Suggested Citation

Dasgupta, Indraneel and Kanbur, Ravi, Community and Class Antagonism (June 2007). , Vol. , pp. -, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1136656

Indraneel Dasgupta (Contact Author)

Durham University - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Durham, DH1 3HY
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University ( email )

301-J Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-7966 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kanbur.dyson.cornell.edu

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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