Pathways to Inequality? A Comparative Sociology of Wealth Regimes

Philipp Golka

Across the globe, recent decades have been characterized by a dramatic increase in wealth inequality and concentration. However, there are significant differences in the extent to and ways in which countries allow for the accumulation and preservation of large fortunes, as well as the socioeconomic importance of private wealth. This suggests the existence of country-specific wealth regimes that enable and structure the creation and preservation of private wealth. Wealth regimes not only have an institutional dimension (such as taxes), but also encompass economic practices such as asset management, the asset composition of wealth portfolios, as well as socioeconomic and cultural aspects. Thus, wealth regimes are located at the intersection of economic sociology and political economy. This project develops a conceptualization of wealth regimes and maps their variegated global manifestations. In a second step, this global variegation is explained through comparative sociological analysis. This not only allows new insights into the relation between capital and the state but also helps in unpacking its significance for current political action such as the green transition.

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