Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Owen-Smith says universities must demonstrate value of higher education

Armstrong says USC's removal of questions from a required Title IX training module may reflect student-administration relations

Fomby finds living with step- or half-siblings linked to higher aggression among 5 year olds

Highlights

PRB training program in policy communication for pre-docs. Application deadline, 2.28.2016

Call for proposals: PSID small grants for research on life course impacts on later life wellbeing

PSC News, fall 2015 now available

Barbara Anderson appointed chair of Census Scientific Advisory Committee

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Feb 1 at noon, 6050 ISR-Thompson
Sarah Miller

Intergenerational Wealth Transmission among Agriculturalists Foundations of Agrarian Inequality

Publication Abstract

Shenk, M.K., M.B. Mulder, J. Beise, G. Clark, W. Irons, D. Leonetti, Bobbi Low, S. Bowles, T. Hertz, A. Bell, and P. Piraino. 2010. "Intergenerational Wealth Transmission among Agriculturalists Foundations of Agrarian Inequality." Current Anthropology, 51(1): 65-83.

This paper uses data from eight past and present societies practicing intensive agriculture to measure the transmission of wealth across generations in preindustrial agricultural societies. Focusing on embodied, material, and relational forms of wealth, we compare levels of wealth between parents and children to estimate how effectively wealth is transmitted from one generation to the next and how inequality in one generation impacts inequality in the next generation. We find that material wealth is by far the most important, unequally distributed, and highly transmitted form of wealth in these societies, while embodied and relational forms of wealth show much weaker importance and transmission. We conclude that the unique characteristics of material wealth, and especially wealth in land, are key to the high and persistent levels of inequality seen in societies practicing intensive agriculture. We explore the implications of our findings for the evolution of inequality in the course of human history and suggest that it is the intensification of agriculture and the accompanying transformation of land into a form of heritable wealth that may allow for the social complexity long associated with agricultural societies.

DOI:10.1086/648658 (Full Text)

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next