Income Inequality

Major Causes: Unemployment, Low Wages, and Disproportionate Rewards for the Few

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.   — Franklin Roosevelt, Second Inaugural Address, January 1937. “Put simply, at least half and possibly more of your income is determined by where you live, which for 96 per cent of people in the world is where they were born. Then, about 20 per cent is due to the income level of your parents. So, your citizenship plus your parental background explain around 70-80 per cent of your income. Obviously, if I had data for gender, race, ethnicity and other things that are similarly ‘given’ to an individual at birth, that percentage would go up.” Milanovic, Forbes 3/18

Income Inequality: growing. Income Inequality Wage Inequality Racial Income Inequality CEO-Worker Pay Gaps


And inequality has only worsened: Top 1% share 2015, Q2:31.1%; share Q1 2022: 41.9%


How much would you have to earn per hour to amass the fortune [of] Elon Musk, the world’s richest man: $1,871,794 every 60 minutes. ‘Almost two million dollars per hour. Every working hour for 45 years.” Robeyns, Limitarianism, quoted by Must We Limit the Wealthy’s Wealth?

Chasing the dream of equity:How policy has shaped racial economic disparities, Maye, EPI 8/23

Racial and ethnic disparities in the United StatesAn interactive chartbook, EPI

Inequality in annual earnings worsens in 2021Top 1% of earners get a larger share of the earnings pie while the bottom 90% lose ground, Gould & Kandra,EPI 12/22

When We Keep Giving Money to Rich People, Why Are We Surprised by Inequality? Baker, CEPR 6/21

The United States of Inequality: A Timeline,, Kingsley, Capital & Main, 11/19

Nobel Economist Says Inequality is Destroying Democratic Capitalism, Deaton, Evonomics 7/19

Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class, OECD 4/19

Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States, ITEP 10/18

World Inequality Report 2018

World Top Income Shares

Family Budget Calculator Eco. Policy Institute

Eight Reasons Why Inequality Ruins the Economy, Dillow, Evonomics 5/19

The Highest-Paid C.E.O.s of 2018: A Year So Lucrative, We Had to Redraw Our Chart, Russell & Williams, NYTimes, 5/19 See ratio of CEO pay to that of median employee

The decline of African-American and Hispanic wealth since the Great Recession, Wolff, 12/18

World’s billionaires became 20% richer in 2017, Neate, Guardian 10/18

“shareholder value is the root cause of workers’ stagnant salaries” How shareholder profits conquered capitalism – and how workers can win back its benefits for themselves, Brennan, Conversation, 10/18

Economic justice goes a long way toward improving mental health up and down the socioeconomic ladder, Green, Yes! 9/18

Where in the World Is It Easiest to Get Rich? Why Scandinavia is a better place to fulfill the American dream, Eia, Evonomics

The Enemy Between Us: How Inequality Erodes Our Mental Health, Pickett & Wilkinson, Open Democracy 8/18

How the Dominant Business Paradigm Turns Nice People into Psychopaths, Stout, Evonomics 7/18

America’s White Collar Middle Class Takes a Terrifying Slide Down the Mobility Ladder, Parramore, INET, 7/18

Five Powerful Families: We’ve reached the point where a handful of extraordinarily wealthy clans essentially have the power to suffocate our democracy. Lord, IPS 7/18

Why America is the World’s First Poor Rich Country, Haque, Eudaimonia 6/18

Want to Make Money Like a C.E.O.? Work for 275 Years, Gelles, NYT 5/18

“In the United States, the chances of acceding to higher education are almost entirely determined by the income of one’s parents; barely 20% for the poorest 10%, and over 90% for the richest 10%.” Piketty blog, 2/18

Why Equality Matters More Than Income, Gershon, JSTOR 2/18 “…high levels of income inequality were correlated with higher rates of infant mortality and low birthweight, teen pregnancy, overweight children, bullying, low math scores, less pursuit of higher education, and a lower proportion of kids who said their “peers are kind.” More equality did have a couple of apparent downsides—in more equal societies, more kids reported feeling lonely, and children were more likely to “aspire to less skilled work.” (The link between equality and loneliness seemed… due to Japan, …with high levels of equality, but also a lot of lonely kids.)”

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2017, Census, 9/18

 Current Population Survey, Bur. of the  Census, 8/17

Mass Incarceration: New Jim Crow, Class War, or Both?, Lewis, PPP 1/18

Latina workers make 67 cents for every dollar white men make, EPI 11/17

Latest official estimates underreport extent of inequality in the U.S., Boushey & Clemons, Equitable Growth 9/17

Economic Hardship Reporting Project, Changing the Story of Inequality

How Did They Get So Rich? The massive increase in incomes at the top is driven mostly by capital.  Bruenig Jacobin 8/17

Yes, Your Parents’ Status Does Influence Your Earning Power, Heath, Bloomberg 6/17

The Absurd Amount of Entitlements That Go to Rich People, Buchheit Commondreams 5/17

Tax Evasion and Inequality, Zucman et al 5/17

A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America, Gross, NPR 5/17 The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Rothstein, EPI

The Rich Are Living Longer and Taking More From Taxpayers, Steverman,Bloomberg 4/17

America is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most People, Parramore, INET 4/17

 The Big Reason Whites Are Richer Than Blacks in America Inheritance matters a lot more than previously thought Coy, Bloomberg 2/17

Income share for the bottom 50% of Americans is ‘collapsing,’ new Piketty research finds, Goldstein 2/17, Marketwatch  Increased health care spending on the elderly consumes most of the [income] gains. The effects of government assistance vary widely with age, especially within the lower half of incomes. Younger adults between 20 and 45 years old have seen their after-tax incomes flatline. But over the same period, seniors in the bottom half have seen their after-tax incomes grow by over 70 percent. The bulk of that gain represents increased health care spending through Medicare. Piketty et al, NYTimes 12/16

Just 100 CEOs have company retirement funds worth $4.7 billion—equal to the entire retirement savings of the the bottom: 59% of African-American families; 75% of Latino families; 55 percent of female-headed households; and 44 percent of white working class households. Anderson and Klinger, IPS 12/16

Explaining inequality:Is technological progress behind growing income inequality? Darvas, Bruegel 12/16

Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer, D.  Baker 10/16 free

Striking new research on inequality: ‘Whatever you thought, it’s worse’ Swanson, Wash. P. 10/16

Income gains in 2015 don’t reverse long-run trend toward greater inequality, Gould, EPI 9/16

Neoliberal epidemics: How inequality makes us sick, Schrecker, SHP 8/16

Inequality made the Great Recession worse (especially for the poor),” Mitman et al, VoxEu 8/16 [see their table on share of income spent by wealth quintile]

Invisible Inequality: The Two Americas of Military Sacrifice, 8/16

The Ever Growing Gap: Without Change, African-A & Latino Families Won’t Match White Wealth for Centuries 8/16

Why inequality is worse for your wallet than a weak economy, Review of Blivens, Tankersley, Wash. Post, 6/16


A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality [rev.], 7/15/15 Stone et al, CBPP

Why The Universal Basic Income Is Not The Best Public Intervention To Reduce Poverty or Income Inequality, 5/

Mr. Moneybags Gets More Out of Social Security, Irwin, NYT 4/16

The New Inequality Debate: More mainstream economists now find that the income mal-distribution reflects the political sway of elites, not economic imperatives. Kuttner, Am. Prospect W/16

What Do Unions Do for the Middle Class? Freeman et al, 1/16

Why Small Debts Matter So Much To Black Lives, ProPublica, 12/15

A land of opportunity no more: Poor intergenerational mobility in the US is a feature of both the past and present, Olivetti & Paserman, 11/15.

“For African American men without a high school diploma, being in prison or jail is more common than being employed—a sobering reality that calls into question post-Civil Rights era social gains. Nearly 70 percent of young black men will be imprisoned at some point in their lives …. because prison inmates are not included in most survey data, statistics that seemed to indicate a narrowing black-white racial gap—on educational attainment, work force participation, and earnings—instead fail to capture persistent racial, economic, and social disadvantage among African Americans.” Invisible Men, Becky Pettit

Top CEOs Make 300 Times More than Typical Workers: Pay Growth Surpasses Stock Gains and Wage Growth of Top 0.1 Percent, Mishel & Davis, EPI 6/15

How Much do you Need to Earn to Afford a Modest Apartment in Your State? Out of Reach 2015

Policy Basics: The Estate Tax CBPP, 3/15

Income Inequality in a Nutshell: Wall St Bonuses Exceed Pay of All Full-Time Minimum Wage Workers, Mother Jones, 3/15

Image Off the Deep End: Wall St. Bonus Pool& Low-Wage Workers, Anderson, IPS 3/15

How Much More (Or Less) Would You Make If We Rolled Back Inequality? Bui, NPR

Power from the People, [Inequality fed by union decline] IMF, Jaumotte & Buitron 3/15

Race Inequality between US Whites and African-Americans by the Numbers, Cole 11/14

Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality, Gordon 9/14

Inequality and the Case for Unions, Koechlin, 6/14

State of the Dream Reports [Racial Wealth Divide]

How Equal Pay for Working Women would Reduce Poverty and Grow the American Economy Hartmann et al, IWPR 1/14

Change the Rules

Growing Apart A Political History of American Inequality, C. Gordon

Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Our Society Frays, 11/13 Bloomberg

New Census Numbers Make it Official: 2000-2010 Was a Lost Economic Decade 9/13

Rising Income Inequality and the Role of Shifting Market-Income Distribution, Tax Burdens, and Tax Rates, Fieldhouse, EPI, 6/13

Financial Security of Elderly Americans at Risk, EPI 6/13

Rising Extreme Poverty in the United States and the Response of Federal Means-Tested Transfer Programs, Shaefer & Edin 5/13

The New American Economy: A Rising Tide that Lifts Only Yachts, TCF

Ten Myths about the Estate Tax CBPP 11/12

U.S. lags behind peer countries in mobility, Gould,EPI 10/12

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the US 2018, US Densus 9/12

How Well Does TANF Proide Income Support for Poor Families? CBPP 8/12

Best and Worst Countries for Women, 6/12

Did Income Inequality Cause the Financial Crisis? Landy, TCF 5/12

Striking It Richer:The Evolution of Top Incomes in the US, Saez, updated 3/12

Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996 to 2011, Edin & Shaefer, NPC 2/12

How Growing Inequality Led to Shrinking Democracy, Meltdown, & Mass Unemployment, Trudy Goldberg 9/11

How Do States’ Safety Net Policies Affect Poverty? Wheaton et al, Urban Instit, 9/11

How Inequality Harms Societies, R. Wilkinson, TED video, 10/11

Who are the 1% and What Do They Do for a Living? New Deal 2.0, 10/11

Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 & 2007, CBO 10/11

Two Years of Economic Recovery: Women Lose Jobs, Men Find Them, Kochhar, 7/11

America’s Tax System Is Not as Progressive as You Think, CTJ, 4/11

Nine Pictures Of The Extreme Income/Wealth Gap, D. Johnson, 2/11

Great Recession Hit Hard at America’s Working Poor: Nearly 1 In 3 Working Families in United States are Low-Income, Roberts et al, Winter 2011

Education is Not the Cure for HighUnemployment or Income Inequality, Mishel EPI, 1/11

Race, Ethnicity and the Economy, EPI

Does America Promote Mobility as Well as Other Nations? Pew, 11/11

Americans prefer Sweden’s wealth distribution to ours, Ariely & Norton

Income inequality in dollars and cents, EPI, 11/10

Poor healthcare may shorten American lives, U.S. ranks 49th in life expectancy Reuters 10/10
Poor men have shorter lives, EPI 10/10

Why Bad Things Happen to Unequal People, Pizzigati, 7/10

“Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. “How the Working Poor Became Big Business”, Rivlin video, 7/10

Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth, and America’s Future, 2010

Why More Equality?, The Equality Trust, UK

A long and persistent middle-class squeeze, EPI, 2/01

Why Welfare Reform Fails Its Recession Test, Edelman & Ehrenreich, Washington Post, 12/09

Divided We Stand:Why Inequality Keeps Rising [OECD Countries] 2011

In Job Hunt, College Degree Can’t Close Racial Gap, Luo, NYT, 11/09

The Middle Takes a Hit in 2008: Census Bureau Report Shows Widespread Declines in Income and Health Insurance Coverage, Fremstad, CEPR 9/09

New Estimates of Economic Inequality in America, 1959-2004, Zacharias et al Levy, 4/09

Growing disparities in life expectancy, E. Gould, EPI, 7/08

Interplay of Politics and Law to Promote Health: Improving Economic Equality and Health: The Case of Postwar Japan,” Bezruchka, Namekata, & Sistrom, AJPH 4/08

Inequality: Bad for Your Health An interview with Ichiro Kawachi, Harvard Sch/Public Health, $ &Sense, Jan/Feb 08

Income share, richest 10% for past 90 years Piketty & Saez, quoted by Paul Krugman

Lies, Damn Lies and Poverty Statistics: How an archaic measurement keeps millions of poor Americans from being counted, Christopher Moraff, 2/06