As discussed in Inequality: What Can Be Done?, the study of income inequality was “marginalized” in mainstream economics for much of the twentieth century. The most notable exception to this generalization is the work of Anthony B. Atkinson, the British economist who is the leading authority and pioneer of the economics of inequality. He even invented an intriguing statistical measure of inequality that is named after him (i.e., the “Atkinson index”). This book is informed by his half-century of scholarship in this field.
In recent decades, economics has made major strides in improving our understanding of inequality. For most of the twentieth century, sociological investigations dominated the study of inequality, and many sociologists came to simply disregard any contributions made by economists. Today, however, sociologists have much to learn from economic analyses of this subject. I highly recommend Inequality: What Can Be Done? because it provides a thorough yet concise summary of much of what is by now a huge literature on the economics of inequality.