Economic Inequality

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Growth is not enough

This op-ed was originally published in Project Syndicate.

Following the steep economic downturns brought about by COVID-19, policymakers should be asking or rethinking fundamental questions. None is more fundamental than whether rapid economic growth is the best way to drive development and help struggling communities escape poverty.

For good reason, economic growth has long been

Net-zero carbon emissions won’t be sustainable if social inequalities aren’t addressed

With COP26, the UN’s climate change conference, on the horizon next year in Glasgow, all eyes are on securing the decarbonisation of the global economy. What this will mean and how it will be achieved will be hotly debated before, during and after the conference.

Thanks to COVID-19, the world has experienced an extraordinary simulation of

17 U.S. Ballot Initiatives to Reduce Inequality

While the presidential race has dominated the 2020 election, there are many other important decisions facing American voters. Here are 17 proposals on ballots around the country that, if approved, would go a long way towards reducing economic inequality.

Tax increases on the wealthy and corporations

  1. One of the biggest fights over fair taxation is raging

Algorithms Are Making Economic Inequality Worse

The risks of algorithmic discrimination and bias have received much attention and scrutiny, and rightly so. Yet there is another more insidious side-effect of our increasingly AI-powered society — the systematic inequality created by the changing nature of work itself. We fear a future where robots take our jobs, but what happens when a significant

Which aspect of US economic inequality is most worrying?

Inequality has been seizing ever more of the public’s attention in recent years, reflected everywhere from papal encyclicals and economic tomes by French socialists to technical academic debates and the demotic language of politicians and pundits. The health and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have further elevated

How Does Socioeconomic Inequality Affect Social Class, Especially for People of Color?

Socioeconomic inequality is one of the most pressing issues American society is grappling with. How does it play out over generations and how have those inequalities led to discrepancies in wealth, especially for people of color?

This year’s Boston University Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) annual Learn More series focused on an exploration of social class,  featuring

Economic inequality made the US more vulnerable to the pandemic

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and the resulting recession is best understood in the context of what has happened to the U.S. economy over the past 40 years. These four decades marked a period of growing economic inequality and slower growth that left the economy and our workers and

Coronavirus pandemic plunges millions of Americans into poverty

As Congress remains deadlocked on a new coronavirus economic stimulus package, two new studies show at least 6 million more people in the US are in poverty due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

study from Columbia University published on Thursday found that the number of Americans in poverty grew by

Pandemics and inequality: A historical overview

There is growing concern about the possible distributive consequences of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has prompted many to look at past experiences for insights. After all, recent studies of long-term tendencies in wealth and income inequality have underlined the role played by major pandemics (Alfani 2020a, 2020b). Much of this literature has focused mostly

Wealth gap costs over last two decades: $2.7 trillion in Black income, $16 trillion to U.S. economy

America’s persistent racial income and wealth gaps are the result of four intertwined factors: housing, education, business ownership and access to credit. Closing these gaps would facilitate inter-generational wealth creation for Black America and also expand the nation’s economy by $5 trillion over the next five years. These findings come from an extensive report newly-released

Unemployment, Job Losses And Covid: Inequality And Unequal Power

As we stagger into the seventh month of the pandemic, the labor market remains deeply troubled.  But while the coronavirus is hurting working people, especially lower-income workers, it is exacerbating underlying inequalities in the economy, not fundamentally reshaping the job market. Our labor policies need to restore worker power and encourage greater equality, pandemic or no

Global climate inequality, in one chart

The global impacts of climate change are inherently unequal. Very often, the most severe damages from droughts, hurricanes, and other disasters occur in places that are least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s not to say that the US and EU don’t experience disasters, of course. And when they do, the dollar cost of

COVID-19 is increasing multiple kinds of inequality. Here’s what we can do about it

  • As well as a public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on poverty levels and inequality.
  • Women, alongside the poor, elderly, disabled and migrant populations, have borne the brunt of the fallout from the pandemic.
  • Minorities have been hit harder and are recovering more slowly from the downturn.

These countries were doing best at tackling inequality before COVID-19

  • Norway comes top for reducing inequality, according to the latest Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index.
  • But before the pandemic hit, only 26 out of 158 countries were spending the recommended amount on healthcare.
  • Some countries, including Viet Nam, have taken great strides to level the playing field during COVID-19.
  • These are the

COVID-19 mortality linked to differences in trust and income inequality

Trust in public institutions is linked to fewer COVID-19 deaths, but trust and belonging to groups is associated with more deaths, according to a wide-ranging, McGill-led study of 30-day COVID-19 mortality rates in 84 countries. Greater economic inequality is also associated with COVID-19 mortality.

The study led by McGill researchers published in Social Science & Medicine, is

US Income Inequality, According to Congressional Budget Office

For a basic overview of income inequality in the United States, the Congressional Budget Office provides a useful overview in its report “The Distribution of Household Income, 2017” (October 2020). 

Versions of this report have been coming out for about 40 years. The CBO uses what is called the Statistics of

Facing hard truths: The material risk of rising inequality

Inequality: A long-term trend

In the US, there has been little-to-no real wage growth for a majority of the population since the 1970s¹, and the wage gains that have manifested have flowed to the highest-paid Americans. The effects on wealth have been severe – the bottom 50% of wealth owners have experienced no net wealth growth

A $2.5 Trillion Question: What If Incomes Grew Like GDP Did?

Per capita GDP in the US grew 118 percent over the past 43 years. At the bottom 25th percentile, real income for full-time, full-year, prime age workers only rose 13.5 percent; at the top 99th percentile, it grew by 166 percent and the top 1 percent grew 322 percent. A new RAND Corporation study on

Facts about economic inequality in the US

Pay Gap, Racism and More Contribute to Growing Economic Inequality in the US

During the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans have faced financial hardship with more than 50 million filing for unemployment benefits. But even before the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans were dealing with economic issues. According to the Economic Policy Institute,