Ten facts about income inequality in advanced economies

Produced by: 
Available from: 
June 2020
Paper author(s): 
Lucas Chancel
Topic: 
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness
Year: 
2020

This paper presents 10 basic facts regarding inequality in advanced economies. Income and wealth inequality was very high a century ago, dropped in the 20th century, and has been rising at different speeds across countries since the 1980s. The financial crisis of 2008 does not appear to have inverted this trend. At the global level, while between-country inequality mattered more than within-country inequality in the 1980s, it is the opposite today. The rise of inequality has not been counterbalanced by an increase social mobility. The reduction of gender pay gaps has tempered the rise of inequality in recent decades, but gender inequality remains particularly high among top income and wealth groups. Racial inequalities remain large as well. Evidence suggests that trade and technology alone cannot explain large inequality variations across rich countries. Shifts in tax and wage setting policies, as well as differences in educational and health systems matter a lot.

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