All posts filed under “Inequality

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The Impact Of The 80s In The United States

In a recent column for The New York Times, economist Paul Krugman wrote about the ongoing effects of the Reagan era in the United States. In the opinion piece, he refers to an article written by fellow economist Austin Frakt, who dove into the increase of U.S. health spending from the 1980s. In most developed countries, Frakt writes, health spending coincides with the increase in life expectancy. However, for the US, things took a turn for the worse since the 1980s. Healthcare spending began soaring beyond that of other advanced nations, but without the same benefits in life expectancy. Krugman uses Frakt’s findings and uses them to paint a broader picture: he looks at inequality (by Gini coefficient), household debt relative to income soaring and party polarisation. Each of these categories worsened since the beginning of the 80s: inequality increased, household debt rose and political parties became more polarised. His hypothesis on how this happened?

“A good guess, surely, is that the whole story is connected with the rise of modern movement conservatism”, Krugman writes, “which brought with it unequalizing economic policies, retreat from antitrust, financial deregulation, and more.” (source)

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Tax Evasion by the 1% (of the 1%)

This graph, made and based in research by economists Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen, Gabriel Zucman, shows that in Scandinavian countries the top  1% – or even: the top 1% of the top 1% – manages to evade up to some 25% of the taxes owed, while the average is a mere 2.8%. The superrich can conceal their assets and income. These results are based audits conducted randomly by tax authorities and new data leaked, e.g. from HSBC Switzerland (the ‘Swiss leaks’). (source)

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WHO: Air Quality Inequality Widens

The World Health Organisation dropped a massive report on air quality all around the world on Wednesday. Here are their key findings:

  •  Data from WHO shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants
  • 7 million people die each year because of air pollution
  • 3 billion people people (+- 40%) are breathing in polluted air on a daily basis
  • The fine particles in polluted air penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia
  • Air pollution is a critical risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), causing an estimated 24% of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% from lung cancer

One of things this report focuses on the most, is the air pollution inequality. In rich cities around the world, the air quality is improving. The worst air quality can be found in poor regions, most notably south and south-east Asia. These parts of the world not only have the worst air quality, but it is also worsening the fastest: 70% of the poor cities in this region suffered worsening air quality. Delhi has the worst air pollution out of the world’s mega-cities with more than 14 million habitants, followed by Cairo and Dhaka. The figure, made by The Guardian, shows the inequality and the widening gap between the world regions. (source)

If you’re interested in the air quality in your region: http://maps.who.int/airpollution/

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Toying with CEO Compensation

Bloomberg made an interactive inventory of US  companies that shows CEO pay ratios. The absolute outlier is Mattel Inc. which paid its Chief Executive Officer Margo Georgiad $31.3 million in 2017, resulting in a pay ratio of 4,987-to-1. The ratio drops to 1,527-to-1 when excluding the on-off compensation Georgiad received when signing her contract. Also, Mattel’s median employee pay is only $6,271 because most of its workers work in low  cost countries. (source)

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The Pay Gap

Last Tuesday was ‘Equal Pay Day’: it marks the number of extra days into 2018 that an average woman (in the US) has to work to earn as much as her male counterpart did in 2017. (In a way, it resembles Earth Overshoot Day.) The internet is flooded by visuals showing the pay gap. The visual above shows how white American women are paid just 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. But African America and Latinas earn even less. It also shows Asian men make slightly more than the average American men. (source)

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Gender Pay Gap (UK)

Today is the deadline for companies active in the UK, and who have 250 or more employees, to submit their data on gender pay gap information. As of last week, only half of UK companies required to, had done so. Facebook did publish its figures last Thursday. The average bonuses for female Facebook employees were almost 40% lower than those of their male colleagues, who (slightly) more often get a bonus. Furthermore, Facebook reports a 0.84 percent difference between the genders, which means than women earned 99 pence ($1.39) for every £1 ($1.41) that men received. The graph above, made by the Financial Times, is based on all submitted data as of 2 March. (source)