Research

The project focus is inequalities in income/wealth and education and their social, political and cultural impacts. It combines an integrated interdisciplinary approach, improved methodologies, an enhanced understanding of inequality (at the bottom/middle/top/very top of the distribution), with a wide country coverage, a clear policy dimension and a broad dissemination of the results. The research will exploit differences between and within countries in inequality levels and inequality trends to understand their impacts and tease out the implications for policy and institutions. It highlights potential effects of individual distributional positions and increasing inequality for a host of ‘bad outcomes’ (both societal and individual) and allows feedback from these impacts to inequality itself in a frame of policy-oriented debate and comparison across 25 EU countries, the USA, Japan, Canada and Australia.

Social impacts include educational access and achievement, individual employment opportunities and labour-market behaviour, household joblessness, living standards and deprivation, family and household formation or breakdown, housing and intergenerational social mobility, individual health and life expectancy, and social cohesion versus social and economic polarisation. Underlying long-term trends, the economic cycle and the current financial and economic crisis will be incorporated. Politico-cultural impacts investigated are: Do increasing income/educational inequalities widen cultural and political ‘distances’, alienating people from politics, globalisation and European integration? Do they affect individuals’ participation and general social trust? Is acceptance of inequality and policies of redistribution affected by the level of inequality itself? What effects have political systems (coalitions/winner-takes-all)? Finally, the project focuses on costs and benefits of limiting income inequality and its efficiency for mitigating other inequalities (health, housing, education and opportunity). The ultimate aim is to consider the overall impact of changing inequalities on societies for the longer term and discuss whether agenda setting in politics may undergo structural change.

Detailed information about the project and its members can be found here.

Organisation of the work

The three-year duration is split into two parts. During the first two years, four working groups will address

These groups, comprised of Core Team members with the support of Associates, will develop the analysis and produce the four Analysis Reports.
In addition, they will  develop a format to be adopted for all Country Reports. Country Reports will be prepared in the last year of the project (2012). In the process of writing Country Reports a list of Country Experts is engaged. A Mid-Term Conference serves as the linking pin between the two parts, Core Analysis and Country Reports.

Expected output

GINI intends to produce:

and a host of academic publications.


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