Economic Inequality

"We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1856-1941)

This guide is designed to help you research information about Economic Inequality. It includes an index of scholarly sources and websites that may be helpful in your research. If you have any trouble finding these sources, please ask a librarian for help.
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The online catalog provides access to the Library's collection of approximately 40,000 books, periodicals and audio-visual titles. These resources may be used to find information for assignments or general interest. The library holds a number of books about economic inequality and related subjects, some of which are
listed below.

Good search terms to use

  • Economic inequality
  • Income inequality
  • Wealth inequality
  • Economics
  • Standard of living
  • Income levels
  • Tax rates
  • Economic mobility
  • We are the 99%
  • Plutocracy
  • Social Justice

New Books

Iceland, John. Poverty in America: A handbook. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. Print.
Call Number: HC110.P6 I25 2013

Reference Books

Rosenberg, Jerry Martin. The Concise Encyclopedia of the Great Recession 2007-2012. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2012. Print.
Call Number: REF HB3743 .R67 2012

Jefferson, Philip N., ed. The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.
Call Number: REF HC79.P6 O97 2012

Circulating Books

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. New York: Henry Holt, 2006. Print.
Call Number: HD5708.55.U6 E47 2006

Lewis, Lionel S. Con Game: Bernard Madoff and His Victims. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Print.
Call Number: HV6692.M33 L495 2012

Dalzell, Robert F., Jr. The Good Rich and What They Cost Us. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. Print.
Call Number: HC110.W4 D35 2013

Milanovic, Branko. The Haves and Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality. New York: Basic Books, 2011. Print.
Call Number: HC79.I5 M547 2011

Freeland, Chrystia. Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. New York: Penguin Press, 2012. Print.
Call Number: HB251 .F74 2012

National Urban League. 2013 State of Black America: Redeem the Dream: Jobs Rebuild America. New York: National Urban League, 2013. Print.
Call Number: ​E185.5 .S73 2013

Sorkin, Andrew Ross. Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System and Themselves. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.
Call Number: HB3722 .S659 2009

Nichols, John. Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, From Madison to Wall Street. New York: Nation Books, 2012. Print.
Call Number: HD8083.W6 N53 2012

Enloe, Cynthia and Joni Seager. The Real State of America Atlas: Mapping the myths and truths of the United States. New York: Penguin Books, 2011. Print.
Call Number: HA214 .E65 2011x
Read an excerpt here:

Electronic Books

The library has recently added 20,000 online books from the vendor Ebrary. This is the “community college” collection, of interest to students and faculty at 2-year colleges. All books are simultaneously available to all RCC users. Ebrary offers a large number of books about economic inequality and economics, some of which are listed below.

Blue Collar Blues: Is Trade to Blame for Rising US Income Inequality?
Lawrence, Robert. Blue Collar Blues: Is trade to blame for rising US income inequality?. Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2008. Web.

Class War?: What Americans Really Think About Economic Inequality
Page, Benjamin I. and Lawrence R. Jacobs. Class War? What Americans really think about economic inequality. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009. Web.

Day After Tomorrow: A Handbook on the Future of Economic Policy in the Developing World
Canuto, Otaviano and Marcelo M. Giugale, eds. Day After Tomorrow: A handbook on the future of economic policy in the developing world. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2010. Web.

Handbook on Poverty and Inequality
Haughton, Jonathan and Shahidur R. Khandker. Handbook on Poverty and Inequality. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2009. Web.


Browse these paper journals and magazines in the library's periodicals section for articles about Economic Inequality.
  • Business Week
  • The Economist
  • Fortune
  • Harvard Business Review
  • The Internationalist

The Library also has a large number of online journals that have articles about Economic Inequality. You can check the E-Journal List to see a complete list of the Library's online journals. Some useful journals include:


Access to millions of journal, magazine, newspaper and reference source articles through our research databases.

Academic OneFile

Academic OneFile is the premier source for peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world's leading journals and reference sources. You can find almost 2,000 entries on economic inequality and related topics, including journal and magazine articles, books, podcasts, and videos.

Business Source Premier

Business Source Premier is the world’s largest full text business database. It provides full text for 3,650 scholarly business journals, including full text for 1,100 peer-reviewed business publications. This database contains hundreds of articles about economic inequality.

Campus Research

Campus Research is an easy-to-use online research service that provides college and university students with access to a comprehensive collection of news and business information and law-related resources. It has over 6,000 articles that mention economic inequality.

Global Issues in Context

Global Issues in Context offers international viewpoints on a broad spectrum of global issues, topics, and current events. Featured are hundreds of continuously updated issue and country portals that bring together a variety of specially selected, highly relevant sources for analysis of social, political, military, economic, environmental, health, and cultural issues. This database has a Business and Economy section that include information about the wealth divide, poverty, and business ethics.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Opposing Viewpoints is a one-stop source for information on today's hottest social issues. It features viewpoint articles, topic overviews, full-text magazine, academic journal, and newspaper articles, primary source documents, statistics, images and podcasts, and links to websites. It covers a number of economics-related topics, including welfare, the middle class, consumer debt, student loans, and the banking crisis.


Streaming Videos

Full length and segment videos from Films On Demand.


Bill Moyers Journal: America's Growing Economic Divide (58 minutes)
Once again in the U.S., the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Is history repeating itself? In this edition of the Journal, Bill M
oyers interviews Steve Fraser, author of Wall Street: America’s Dream Palace, about the modern parallels to and differences from the first Gilded Age, the big disparity between the wealthy and the impoverished, and the increasing strain on working Americans. The program also analyzes the growing inequality gap as illustrated by union workers in L.A., who recently marched to call attention to how hard it is to stay in the middle class or to join it. An interview with Holly Sklar, coauthor of Raise the Floor: Wages and Policies that Work for All of Us, about what current economic conditions say about the state of the American dream, rounds out the program.

Economic Development: A Global Challenge (34 minutes)
This program studies various methods for calculating economic potential, growth, and stagnation in the context of today’s global environment. Introducing the three main determinants of income and expansion—physical capital, human capital, and technology—the video examines geographic, historical, and political reasons behind underdevelopment, especially the vestigial effects of colonialism and the population disparities that exist between rich and poor nations. Production structure, credit markets, income inequality within a country, and the concept of the dual economy are all explored in detail.

Economic Inequality and Health (2 minutes, 48 seconds)
This anthology of NewsHour segments confronts ethical dilemmas and complex issues in medicine today. Through in-depth reporting and interviews with doctors, nurses, patients, and other experts, the anthology examines case studies, scientific breakthroughs, and connections between corporate and public policy.

NOW with Bill Moyers: A Question of Fairness (58 minutes)
The idea that anyone can succeed in America is a vital part of the national identity. But today, the middle class shrinks as the gap between rich and poor widens. In this program, Bill Moyers investigates what lies behind the disparity. In three telling examples, Moyers draws attention to a question of fairness involving the politics of privilege: the impact of NAFTA on a Pennsylvania mill town; financial deregulation in the early 1990s that led to WorldCom’s scandalous collapse; and the story of a failed attempt to reform Alabama’s state income tax system.

Source: Kiplinger

Web sites

There are many good websites about Economic Inequality. These web sites have been evaluated by library staff. Remember to always evaluate internet resources. To find out more about evaluating web sites, Cornell University has a very good guide.

Northeastern University Teach-In: Reclaiming our Economy
Videos, presentations, and discussion of the teach-in held at Northeastern University on 11/13/2011. Speakers include Michael Dukakis, Deval Patrick, Thomas Menino, and Sonia Chang-Diaz. The Boston Globe wrote a good description of the teach-in, as did Northeastern.
Statistics, graphs and charts, books, and videos about economic inequality from the Institute for Policy Studies. Includes up to date articles and news items.

The Economist's Economic Inequality Topic Page
Articles and statistics about economic inequality from the national magazine The Economist.

Google News Search for Economic Inequality Articles
Gives up to dates news items about economic inequality.

Wikipedia: Wealth Inequality in the United States
A good place to start your research on economic inequality. Includes a list of other Wikipedia pages on related topics, and a list of references you can use to get more information.

Wikipedia: International Inequality
This Wikipedia page focuses on international economic inequality.

Slate Magazine's United State of Inequality Series
A ten-part series on different facets of economic inequality from Slate Magazine.

The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Articles and reports on economic issues from the non-profit, non-partisan Levy Institute.

Who Rules America? - Power, Politics, and Social Change
Information about the book Who Rules America?, with further reading on the topic of economic and political inequality.

Insight Center for Community Economic Development
A California organization that provides resources, including articles and papers, on a wide range of economic issues.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
An international, non-governmental agency that works to "promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world."

US Census Bureau
The US Census Bureau provides the economic statistics used in many articles and reports about economic inequality.


Additional Resources

Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America. By Frank Levy and Peter Temin. 2007.

Winner-Take-All Politics: Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States. By Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson. 2010

"Inequality and Labor Process." by Mark Granovetter and Charles Tilly. In Smelser, Neil J. Handbook of Sociology. Newbury Park, Calif: Sage Publications, 1988. Print. Available at the Boston Public Library's Central Branch for in-library use only.

Citing Sources: Style Guides

APA Style Tutorial
Laguardia Community College Library MLA and APA citation style
The Owl at Purdue: APA Formatting and Style Guide
The Owl at Purdue: MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide

Basic Research Help

Please click the Ask a Librarian icon if you have any questions concerning these guides, need help finding material for your research or any general questions you might have.

General Library Information

Research guide prepared by Autumn Haag on 12/1/11 and 3/26/13:; updated on 4/16/14 by Katie Bliss.