Income and wealth inequality in the Netherlands 16th-20th century


Income and wealth inequality in the Netherlands 16th-20th century

Lee Soltow & Jan Luiten van Zanden

Het Spinhuis, 1998


Income & wealth inequality in the Netherlands, 16th-20th century

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Bibliography: p. 199-212



The "new inequality" of the 1980's and 1990's has given rise to a lively debate about the relationship between economic growth and income distribution. This debate provides the background for this study which details the long-term development of income and wealth inequality in the Netherlands between c. 1500 and the present. The study begins with the hypothesis by Simon Kuznetz that income inequality increased during the first phase of modern economic growth, but that the second phase, which took place in most Western countries around the turn of the twentieth century, experienced a leveling out of income differences. The development of inequality during the Golden Age, when growth resulted in a marked increase in inequality, seems to confirm this idea. However, the analysis of the connection between growth and inequality in the nineteenth and twentieth century leads many to question the Kuznetz hypothesis.

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