Cover: The Gender of Capital: How Families Perpetuate Wealth Inequality, from Harvard University PressCover: The Gender of Capital in HARDCOVER

The Gender of Capital

How Families Perpetuate Wealth Inequality

Product Details


$39.95 • £34.95 • €36.95

ISBN 9780674271791

Publication Date: 03/07/2023


344 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 illus., 17 tables


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A fantastic, must-read book. If you want to know why gender inequality in wealth remains enormously high, and even has risen in recent decades, this work should be at the top of your reading list. Bessière and Gollac deftly disentangle the complex processes of estate planning, divorce proceedings, and marital arrangements that have brought us to this point.—Thomas Piketty, author of A Brief History of Equality

The Gender of Capital is a rare gem. Illuminating entrenched social and legal practices, Bessière and Gollac expertly demonstrate the grip of gender inequality in shaping the transmission of wealth. Their discoveries deserve a broad audience, and undoubtedly will shape the direction of future research.—Viviana A. Zelizer, author of Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy

Richly documented and incisively argued, this book offers new insight into how unequal relations between women and men are reproduced over many generations. For those of us who have been doing feminist work for a long time, it offers welcome confirmation that gender is an important determinant of inequality, both within and across divisions of class.—Joan Wallach Scott, author of Sex and Secularism

An important new chapter in the history of wealth inequality. In a fascinating account of legal and family practices surrounding bequests and divorce, Bessière and Gollac reveal the mechanisms through which wealth accumulates mostly in the hands of men.—Jens Beckert, author of Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics

At last, a book that addresses the notable omission of gender from the conversation about wealth inequality. Taking seriously the contributions of 1970s and 1980s socialist feminists, Bessière and Gollac show how the practice of family and inheritance law drives the gender wealth gap. One can only hope that scholars in the United States will pursue future work following this model.—Cynthia Grant Bowman, author of Living Apart Together: Legal Protections for a New Form of Family

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