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Does Inequality Matter?

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Publication Date:
Jan 2002
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Project Programs:
Social Inequality

The debate over inequality involves both moral and empirical claims, but because the empirical claims are hard to assess, both sides tend to emphasize moral arguments. But treating inequality as a moral issue does not make the empirical questions go away, because the most common moral arguments for and against inequality rest on claims about its consequences. If these claims cannot be supported with evidence, skeptics will find the moral arguments unconvincing. If the claims about consequences are actually wrong, the moral arguments are also wrong.

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