Bells in Space: The Spatial Dynamics of US Interpersonal and Interregional Income Inequality

Sergio J. Rey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Social and interregional inequality patterns across US states from 1929–2012 are analyzed using exploratory space–time methods. The results suggest complex spatial dynamics for both inequality series that were not captured by the stylized model of Alonso. Interpersonal income inequalities of states displayed a U-shaped pattern ending the period at levels that exceeded the alarmingly high patterns that existed in the 1920s. Social inequality is characterized by greater mobility than that found for state per capita incomes. Spatial dependence is also distinct between the two series, with per capita incomes exhibiting strong global spatial autocorrelation, while state interpersonal income inequality does not. Local hot and cold spots are found for the per capita income series, while local spatial outliers are found for state interpersonal inequality. Mobility in both inequality series is found to be influenced by the local spatial context of a state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-182
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Regional Science Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • development and convergence
  • economic analysis
  • economic growth and development
  • growth
  • income distribution
  • income inequality
  • methods
  • methods
  • policy and applications
  • policy and applications
  • poverty
  • social and political issues
  • spatial analysis
  • spatial statistics and spatial econometrics
  • spatial structure
  • time series and forecasting models
  • urban and regional economic development
  • urban and regional spatial structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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