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Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota

Trends Overview

Current trends in inequality are captured in three standard categories of inequality measures: top income shares, poverty, and the Gini coefficient. Read More

Inequality is Highest Where Income is Lowest

A crucial and often overlooked fact about inequality is that it varies widely over the geographical landscape. One tendency seems to stand out: inequality tends to be greatest where median incomes are lowest.  States with high median incomes tend to be the most equal while the poorest states are the most unequal. Read More

Income Inequality Increasingly Becomes a Public Concern and Economic Threat

There are those who recognize growing inequality but conclude that it is not a major concern. Inequality is an unavoidable part of a modern economy and a free society, they say, and public or governmental action to arrest it would only harm overall economic performance. We marshall evidence challenging the notion that citizens believe income disparity to be unimportant. They perceive inequality to be lower than it is and wish it to be lower still. Read More

Causes of Inequality

If inequality is high and rising, perhaps the most important questions of all have to do with causation. One view is that globalization and technical change reduce opportunities for the least educated workers and increase the economic opportunities of the most educated. According to this view, income inequality will inevitably continue to increase. Another view, however, is that intentional public policy over the last 35 years has disproportionately benefitted those at the top of the income ladder. According to this view, increases in inequality were not inevitable, and could be reversed by changes in public policy that favor the 99%. Read More

The "Economic Inequality Impact Assessment"

We propose a specific step to help policymakers understand the impact that proposed policies would have on inequality. We recommended a measure of policy impact on inequality, the Economic Inequality Impact Assessment (EIIA), which would accompany all economically significant legislation in the State. We note parallels to the Environmental Impact Statement, used throughout our regulatory realm since the 1970s to ensure that new proposals and projects do no impose undue burdens upon our environment and natural resources. Read More

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