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A Problem of Riches: Towards a new Social Policy Research Agenda on the Distribution of Economic Resources


The distribution of economic resources in society is a central concern for social policy. But research in this area has primarily concentrated on the bottom of the economic distribution, namely ‘the poor’. In this article, we argue that it is time for social policy to move away from a narrow focus on poverty to consider the broader issue of inequality between different groups in the economic distribution and, by implication, the position of better-off citizens. This raises a number of conceptual challenges due to the current lack of consideration of wealth and inequality at a political, theoretical or empirical level. The article discusses the challenges and concludes by outlining a possible research agenda. However, the underpinning argument is that social policy needs to develop a broader understanding of the economic distribution.

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Journal of Social Policy
  • ISSN: 0047-2794
  • EISSN: 1469-7823
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-social-policy
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