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Inequality Interactions: The Dynamics of Multidimensional Inequalities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-961
Number of pages21
Issue number5
Early online date24 Aug 2022
Accepted/In press1 Apr 2022
E-pub ahead of print24 Aug 2022
PublishedSep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The author would like to thank Ingrid Bleynat, Alice Evans, Aaron Reeves and Mike Savage for helpful comments and discussion, and the anonymous referees for their feedback. He gratefully acknowledges support from the Leverhulme Foundation through a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (grant number RF‐2016‐437). Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. Development and Change published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Institute of Social Studies.


King's Authors


This article offers a multidimensional, interdisciplinary and dynamic framework for understanding socio-economic inequalities. It uses the tools of economic inequality measurement to demonstrate the link between interpersonal and categorical inequalities and to show the effect of progressive redistribution on both. It then presents two new concepts for analysing interactions between varieties of inequality: inequality re-ordering is defined as a reduction in categorical or group inequalities that leaves interpersonal inequality unchanged, and inequality diversion is defined as a reduction in one form of inequality that increases another form of inequality. The argument that inequality diversion arises across economic and social dimensions is illuminated through two case studies: the transition to increasing meritocracy, and the relationship between professional female labour market participation and domestic service. Exploring these relationships is essential to a joined-up approach to inequality reduction, enabling us to understand trade-offs and complementarities in tackling inequalities, and to identify policies required to reduce them.

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