Free Lunch: The Global State of Inequality

A recent article in the Financial Times by Martin Sandbu discusses in detail the state of inequality prevalent in the world today. Taking a cue from the World Inequality Report released by the World Inequality Lab on December 7th, 2021, the author makes an important point about the premature fiscal austerity of rich countries exacerbating inequalities after a pandemic (Furceri, Loungani, Ostry, Pizzuto, 2021).

Some other trends highlighted in the article include:

“First, global inequality (between countries) was pretty constant in 2020 compared to the year before — but that stalled a trend of falling inequality since the early 2000s.

Second, global inequality of individual wealth took a jump last year, when the share of global wealth owned by the world’s billionaires increased by half (from 2.2 to 3.3 percent) and that of the top 0.01 percent wealthiest individuals increased by about a percentage point (from 10.3 to 11.1 percent). At the same time, the wealth of the broader top 1 percent group remained stable, both in the US and Europe, so the winners of greater wealth inequality were extremely concentrated at the very top.

Third, Europe is the most egalitarian continent, whether measured by income inequality, wealth inequality, or inequality of individual carbon emissions, the WID’s data on which are fascinating and important. (They show that middle-income people in rich countries emit less than the top 10 percent in some poorer regions.)”

It then goes on to discuss some reasons which explain why Europe is more egalitarian than the US, the role of taxation and public spending for measures to promote equality, etc.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted by at 1:27 PM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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