Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
The New Geography of Global Income Inequality

The New Geography of Global Income Inequality

Glenn Firebaugh

ISBN 9780674019874

Publication date: 03/31/2006

The surprising finding of this book is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, global income inequality is decreasing. Critics of globalization and others maintain that the spread of consumer capitalism is dramatically polarizing the worldwide distribution of income. But as the demographer Glenn Firebaugh carefully shows, income inequality for the world peaked in the late twentieth century and is now heading downward because of declining income inequality across nations. Furthermore, as income inequality declines across nations, it is rising within nations (though not as rapidly as it is declining across nations). Firebaugh claims that this historic transition represents a new geography of global income inequality in the twenty-first century.

This book documents the new geography, describes its causes, and explains why other analysts have missed one of the defining features of our era—a transition in inequality that is reducing the importance of where a person is born in determining his or her future well-being.


  • If you want to understand how global income equality has evolved in recent decades and why, look no further. Glenn Firebaugh has provided the most complete, thoughtful, and intriguing study on the subject, The New Geography of Global Income Inequality… This is an outstanding book, showcasing what sociology can offer by enhancing our empirical knowledge of the world… Firebaugh’s argument is articulate, forceful, and well-presented. All who are concerned with issues of income inequality, scholars and laypersons alike, will find much to learn from this book, as will students seeking to master the art of conducting empirical social science. For these reasons, I highly recommend Firebaugh’s latest contribution.

    —Yu Xie, American Journal of Sociology


  • Glenn Firebaugh is Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology at Pennsylvania State University.

Book Details

  • 272 pages
  • 0-11/16 x 5-3/4 x 8-15/16 inches
  • Harvard University Press