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Changing Inequalities in Rich CountriesAnalytical and Comparative Perspectives$
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Wiemer Salverda, Brian Nolan, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth, and Herman van de Werfhorst

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687435

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687435.001.0001

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Inequality, Impacts, and Policies

(p.328) 13 Conclusions
Changing Inequalities in Rich Countries

Wiemer Salverda

Brian Nolan

Daniele Checchi

Ive Marx

Abigail McKnight

István György Tóth

Herman van de Werfhorst

Oxford University Press

Keeping economic inequality in check is an uphill battle, though countries differ. General drivers seem mediated, moderated, accelerated or perhaps even replaced by demographic, institutions or policy-making changes. Growing inequality is not found robustly linked to worsening social outcomes (health, deprivation, housing, social cohesion, etc.), though better longitudinal data may change this; Social stratification is manifest. Political impacts (e.g. legitimacy) seem stronger, underpinning deep concerns about political influence of the rich, feeding into policies increasing inequality. People on low incomes face effects on health, living conditions, social ties, child development. Redistributing income is imperative so as to alleviate poverty and promote equality of opportunities. Prevention policies cannot replace direct redistribution. The best performing countries have a large welfare state that invests in people, stimulating them to be active and adequately protecting them when everything else fails. This continues to offer the best prospect for rich countries pursuing growth with equality.

Keywords:   inequality, drivers of inequality, impacts of inequality, housing, health, political influence, income redistribution, welfare state

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