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Comparing ancient inequalities: the challenges of comparability, bias and precision

  • Mattia Fochesato (a1), Amy Bogaard (a2) (a3) and Samuel Bowles (a3)

Abstract

Archaeological evidence provides the only basis for comparative research charting wealth inequality over vast stretches of the human past. But researchers are confronted by a number of problems: small sample sizes; variable indicators of wealth (including individual grave goods, the area of household dwellings or storage spaces); overrepresentation of the wealthy, or invisibility of those without wealth; and vastly different population sizes. Here, the authors develop methods for estimating the Gini coefficient—a measure of wealth inequality—that address these challenges, allowing them to provide a set of 150 comparable estimates of ancient wealth inequality.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence (Email: amy.bogaard@arch.ox.ac.uk)

References

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