Economic Inequality meets Social Stratification: An Application of Stratification Economics to Mexico

Paloma Villagómez-Ornelas

Luis Monroy-Gómez-Franco

Documento de trabajo CEEY no. 06 / 2021

This paper argues that explaining both the level and the changes in the inequality of the distribution of economic resources in society requires complementing explanations based on human capital theory with insights from social stratification theory. The integration of both allows explaining horizontal inequalities and explaining the aggregate levels of economic inequality in a society. We exemplify the potential of this integration through a reinterpretation of the literature on economic inequalities in Mexico during the XXIst century. This reinterpretation focuses on how institutions stratify the access to the different components of human capital and how said components are valued in the labour market. We argue that a complete understanding of distributional dynamics in societies with persistent inequalities can be achieved through this interdisciplinary exercise.