Found 480 article(s) in category 'Q3: Inequality?'


Inequality has been rising both within and between countries in recent years. The posts collected here define the different dimensions of inequality and how they manifest, examine its causes, and discuss the extent to which we should be worried. In addition to diagnosing the problem, the posts offer policy options to address it.

The Economic Context for Reforming the Safety Net

The Economic Context for Reforming the Safety Net. Karen Dynan, November 6, 2019, Paper, “As we wrestle with the future of our safety net and social insurance programs, it is important to understand not only the features and outcomes associated with individual programs but also the broader economic context. This reflection piece discusses several relevant aspects of the macroeconomy and of economic and financial conditions facing households: rising government debt, slower macroeconomic growth, limited tools to fight future recessions, greater income inequality, and the financial struggles of households. It goes on to draw lessons for how we should reform our system of entitlement programs.Link

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Income Inequality Affects Donations Only for High-Income People Who Feel Financially Insecure and Distrust Others

Income Inequality Affects Donations Only for High-Income People Who Feel Financially Insecure and Distrust Others. Ashley Whillans, 2019, Paper, “There is a growing debate about whether high-income individuals are more or less generous when income inequality is high. We advance this ongoing conversation by analysing a large and comprehensive data set with approximately one million respondents from 140 countries. In this data set, higher-income individuals who live in countries with greater income inequality are less likely to donate money to charity and are more likely to volunteer than their lower-income counterparts. Higher-income individuals who feel financially insecure or show distrust of others are especially unlikely to donate money to charity under high income inequality. These moderators do not influence rates of volunteering. Together, these results advance the debate regarding whether and when inequality shapes prosocial behaviour.Link

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Intelligent Design of Inclusive Growth Strategies

Intelligent Design of Inclusive Growth Strategies. George Serafeim, 2019, Paper, “Improving corporate engagement with society, as advocated in the Business Roundtable’s 2019 statement, should not be viewed as a zero-sum proposition where attention to new stakeholders detracts from delivering shareholder value. Corporate programs for sustainable and ethical sourcing practices, however, have fallen far short of solving the underlying causes of extreme poverty, extensive use of child labor, and threats to the environment and human health. We identify several causes to explain this disappointing shortfall in societal performance, including traditional company policies and incentives that inhibit the implementation of innovative, inclusive growth strategies. We propose the role for a new actor, a catalyst, to help companies forge new relationships with external funders, local intermediary companies, NGOs, and community leaders. The catalyst aligns the multiple stakeholders from multiple sectors into enduring, mutually- beneficial relationships that produce more value than that currently produced when stakeholders connect only by transactional relationships. The catalyst attracts funding from public and private sources to invest in the new ecosystem, which can generate attractive financial returns while alleviating poverty and environmental degradation. Finally, the catalyst engages the multiple participants to collectively co-create explicit strategies and scorecards of metrics, which serve to motivate, create accountability, and enable an enduring governance model for a multi-stakeholder ecosystem.Link

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Beyond Material Poverty: Why Time Poverty Matters for Individuals, Organisations, and Nations

Beyond Material Poverty: Why Time Poverty Matters for Individuals, Organisations, and Nations. Ashley Whillans, October 2019, Paper, “Over the last two decades, global wealth has risen. Yet, material affluence has not translated into time affluence. Instead, most people today report feeling persistently “time poor”—like they have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. This is critical because time poverty is linked to lower well-being, physical health, and productivity. For example, in our analysis of 2.5 million Americans, subjective feelings of time poverty had a stronger negative effect on well-being than being unemployed. However, individuals, organisations, and policymakers often overlook the pernicious effects of time poverty. Billions of dollars are spent each year to alleviate material poverty, while time poverty is often ignored or exacerbated. In this Perspective, we discuss the organisational, institutional, and psychological factors that explain why time poverty is often under appreciated. We argue that scientists, policymakers, and organisational leaders need to devote more attention and resources toward understanding and reducing time poverty to promote psychological and economic well-being.Link

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Would a “Wealth Tax” Help Combat Inequality? A Debate with Saez, Summers, and Mankiw

Would a “Wealth Tax” Help Combat Inequality? A Debate with Saez, Summers, and Mankiw. Lawrence Summers, N. Gregory Mankiw, October 16, 2019, Video, “Emmanuel Saez, a leading architect of the “wealth tax” plans advocated by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, outlined his proposals at the PIIE conference on “Combating Inequality: Rethinking Policies to Reduce Inequality in Advanced Economies” on October 17–18, 2019. Lawrence Summers of Harvard, top economic policymaker in the Clinton and Obama administrations, delivered a tough critique of Professor Saez’s proposals. He was joined in the criticism by Gregory Mankiw, also a Harvard economic professor, and a former top economic adviser to President George W. Bush. Watch this important and timely discussion, moderated by Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post.Link


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Rule of Law and Female Entrepreneurship

Rule of Law and Female Entrepreneurship. Edward Glaeser, October 2019, Paper, “Commerce requires trust, but trust is difficult when one group consistently fears expropriation by another. If men have a comparative advantage at violence and there is little rule-of-law, then unequal bargaining power can lead women to segregate into low-return industries and avoid entrepreneurship altogether. In this paper, we present a model of female entrepreneurship and rule of law that predicts that women will only start businesses when they have both formal legal protection and informal bargaining power. The model’s predictions are supported both in cross-national data and with a new census of Zambian manufacturers. In Zambia, female entrepreneurs collaborate less, learn less from fellow entrepreneurs, earn less and segregate into industries with more women, but gender differences are ameliorated when women have access to adjudicating institutions, such as Lusaka’s “Market Chiefs” who are empowered to adjudicate small commercial disputes. We experimentally induce variation in local institutional quality in an adapted trust game, and find that this also reduces the gender gap in trust and economic activity.Link

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How to Support Developing Countries in Energy Transition

How to Support Developing Countries in Energy Transition. Kenneth Rogoff, October 11, 2019, Opinion, “Despite the severity of the climate-change crisis, much of the debate in advanced economies is entirely inward-looking, without recognizing that the real growth in carbon dioxide emissions is coming from emerging Asia. In fact, Asia already accounts for a higher share of global emissions than the United States and Europe combined.Link

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We no longer share a common lived experience

We no longer share a common lived experience. Lawrence Summers, October 9, 2019, Opinion, “The economic geography of the United States is central to our most serious economic, social and political problems. And yet it is a subject that receives only the episodic attention of federal policymakers and initiatives that are far too small to have a meaningful chance of success.Link

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