Dimensions of Inequality in Canada.


478 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-7748-1207-9
DDC 305.0971





Edited by David A. Green and Jonathan R. Kesselman
Reviewed by Jeffrey Moon

Jeff Moon is head of the Maps, Data, and Government Information Centre
at Queen’s University.


The first of three volumes arising from the Equality, Security, and Community (ESC) Project—a project dedicated to explaining the “distribution of well-being in Canada”—Dimensions of Inequality in Canada comprises 13 chapters, each with a different approach to this topic.


David A. Green and Jonathan R. Kesselman, both economists, have taken the role of editors and contributors to this work. As editors, they have pulled together a stellar cast of academics: from sociologists to economists, and political scientists to philosophers. As contributors, their opening chapter serves as a very readable overview of the concept of inequality, and as a roadmap to the rest of the work. The book has a strong “quantitative” pedigree, which is not surprising given the reliance authors put on such primary data sources as the Survey of Consumer Finance, the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, and the Longitudinal Administrative Data file (taxation data). What takes this book to the next level is its inclusion of more than just income when measuring inequality. Such factors as consumption, participation, and social policy, among others, are examined as well. To achieve this, researchers turned to surveys such as the National Survey of Giving, Volunteering, and Participation, the World Values Survey, and the project’s flagship survey on Equality, Security, and Community. In the spirit of academic rigour and openness, the latter survey is available for downloading, in all its SPSS glory, at the Institute for Social Research (http://www.yorku.ca/isr/download/ESC.html). The quantitative content of some chapters may prove somewhat daunting to non-economists, but even the most quantitative contributors (exactly what is a “transition matrix”?) manage to distil the essence of their argument into accessible prose.


The book has a 17-page index, thorough chapter notes and references, brief author biographies, and a convenient list of figures and tables. It is no surprise, given the range of surveys and sources used in this book, that the arguments and conclusions are equally wide-ranging and thought-provoking.


“Dimensions of Inequality in Canada.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28238.