Understanding Economic Inequality
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Understanding Economic Inequality

Bigger Pies and Just Deserts

Todd A. Knoop

In Understanding Economic Inequality, the author brings an economist’s perspective informed by new, groundbreaking research on inequality from philosophy, sociology, psychology, and political science and presents it in a form that it is accessible to those who want to understand our world, our society, our politics, our paychecks, and our neighbors’ paychecks better.
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Chapter 2: How unequal are we? Six major facts

Todd A. Knoop


Surveys have shown that people across the world are shockingly ignorant about inequality and underestimate the extent to which inequality exists despite the voluminous research on inequality that has taken place over the last two decades. The purpose of this chapter is to take a closer look at the inequality data across the globe, summarized in six important facts about inequality across the globe. 1. Income Gini coefficients have risen significantly since 1980 within most countries of the world. 2. The top 10%, top 5%, top 1%, top 0.1%, and top 0.01% income shares within countries are rising particularly fast. 3. Global wealth inequality is growing even faster, and the number of billionaires is booming. 4. The middle-class in rich democracies is shrinking and economic mobility is stagnant. 5. The global middle-class and poor are gaining ground (relatively). 6. Where, not who, is still the biggest story in global inequality.

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