Income and Wealth Inequality in the Netherlands, 16th-20th Century
The "new inequality" of the 1980s and 1990s has given rise to a lively debate about the relationship between eco- nomic 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. 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. Lee Soltow is professor of economics at Ohio University (Athens). Jan Luiten van Zanden is professor of economics and social history at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) and at the International Institute for Social History.
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