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SOCIOL 1A06 Lecture Notes - Progressive Tax, Living Wage, Immigration Policy

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Tina Fetner

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Sociology 1A06 Jan 11/10
Global Inequality
Social Mobility
How easy or hard it is to climb the social ladder?
o Measured generationally
This is a measure of social structure, not of individuals
What Causes Inequality?
Income and wealth inequality primarily caused by:
o Economy
o Labour market
Sorts people into different jobs
o Social Policy
Race, ethnic and gender inequalities
o Economy/labour market/policy
o Segregation
o Social structure
o Discrimination
o Family
o Immigration policy & opportunity
Is there work available?
Does the work pay a living wage?
Are there shortages of goods?
o If a shortage of goods, price of those goods increase
o Fewer people can afford whatever they need
o Value of their salaries decrease
Are there benefits for healthcare, childcare, etc?
Labour Market
How are jobs distributed?
What is the range of wages?
What groups have access to each type of jobs?
What causes Inequality?
Social policy
We (citizens, voters) decide how much inequality we prefer
Policies determine level
o Taxation
Sociology 1A06 Jan 11/10
o Social benefits
o Poverty relief
o Progressive taxation shrinks inequality
o Regressive taxation policies expands inequality
Taxation and Inequality
Income tax:
Taxes on alcohol and cigarettes are regressive
o Higher portion of a low income persons income than a high income person
o Taking more money out of pockets of low income people than high income people
proportional to their income
o Regressive redistribution
Bridge tolls and other flat taxes are progressive taxes
Other Social Policies
Reducing inequality:
o Welfare & Social Services
o Childcare benefit
o Universal benefits are progressive and therefore decreases inequality (e.g., childcare
o Universal Healthcare
o Minimum wage
o Public education
o Old Age Security(OAS)/Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
Increasing Inequality:
o Corporate tax breaks
o Tax shelters, loopholes
o Low capital gains tax
Make an investment and sell the investment and make a profit
Measures of Global Inequality
Economic Progress:
o Over productivity
Gross Domestic Product
o How much economic activity there is
o Purchasing Power Parity
Idea is that there is a basket of goods that people would need to survive (food,
shelter, water)
Can measure how much inequality between rich person who can by lots of
baskets, versus those who could only buy half
Sociology 1A06 Jan 11/10
Some people have so much, others have so little
o Health Outcomes:
Life expectancy
Infant mortality