Why we need to talk about inequality - Ver.di

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Richard Wilkinson ... Source: Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level (2009) ... G erm an y. N etherlands. S p ain. France. C anada. S w izterland. Ireland G reece.

Why we need to talk about inequality Richard Wilkinson Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology

Photo by kind permission of Matt Stuart

3

Income per head and life-expectancy: rich & poor countries

4 Source: Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level (2009)

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

‘‘Cross-country data show almost no relation between changes in life expectancy and economic growth over 10, 20, or 40-year time periods between 1960 and 2000. Many countries have shown remarkable improvements in health with little or no economic growth...’’ Cutler D, Deaton A, Lleras-Muney A. The Determinants of Mortality. J Economic Perspectives 2006; 20: 97– 120.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy and CO2 emissions per head

CO2 emissions per head (tonnes) Wilkinson R, Pickett K & De Vogli R. BMJ 2010; 341:1138-1140

Life expectancy in rich countries is no longer related to National Income per head

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Life expectancy is strongly related to income within rich countries 80

Life expectancy (years)

79 78 77 76 75 74 73 72 71 70

Richest

Poorest

Local Neighbourhoods (in England & Wales) Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Relative risk of death by income group Men and women aged 25-65 Insured population of Mettman, Nordrhein-Westfalen (2473 deaths) 4,0 Unadjusted

Relative risk of death

3,5 3,0

Adj. for Occupation & education

2,5 2,0 1,5 1,0 0,5 0,0

Income groups Richest 20%

Upper Middle 20% Lower middle 20% middle 20%

Poorest 20%

Geyer, Hemström, Peter, Vågerö, J.Epidemiology & Community Health 2006; 60: 804-10

Inequality... How much richer are the richest 20% in each country than the poorest 20%? Income gaps How many times richer are the richest fifth than the poorest fifth?

8.0

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

Sin ga po re

ug al US A

UK

Po rt

Isr ae l Ze ala nd Au str ali a Ne w

6.1 6.2

8.5

7.2 6.7 6.8 6.8 7.0

Ita ly

5.6 5.6 5.6 5.7 5.2 5.3

Ja pa n Fin lan d No rw ay Sw ed en De nm ark Be lgi um Au str ia Ge rm an Ne y the rla nd s Sp ain Fra nc e Ca na da Sw izt erl an d Ire lan d Gr ee ce

4.6 4.8 4.3 3.9 4.0 3.7 3.4

9.7

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Health and social problems with social gradients and internationally comparable data • • • • • • • • •

Life expectancy Math & Literacy Infant mortality Homicides Imprisonment Teenage births Trust Obesity Mental illness – incl. drug & alcohol addiction • Social mobility

Index of: • Life expectancy • Math & Literacy • Infant mortality • Homicides • Imprisonment • Teenage births • Trust • Obesity • Mental illness – incl. drug & alcohol addiction • Social mobility

Index of health and social problems

Health and social problems are worse in more unequal countries

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Index of: • Life expectancy • Math & Literacy • Infant mortality • Homicides • Imprisonment • Teenage births • Trust • Obesity • Mental illness – incl. drug & alcohol addiction • Social mobility

Index of health and social problems

Neither health nor social problems are related to national income per head

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Child well-being is better in more equal countries

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

The UNICEF Index of Child Wellbeing is not related to National Income per head

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

People in more unequal countries trust each other less

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

People in more unequal states of the USA trust each other less

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Mental illness is more common in more unequal societies

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Infant Mortality Rates are Higher in More Unequal Countries

19 Source: Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level (2009)

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Homicide rates are higher in more unequal US states and Canadian provinces 180

USA states Canadian provinces

Homicides per million people

150

120

90

60

30

0

Low

Income Inequality

High

Daly M, Wilson M, Vasdev S. Income inequality and homicide rates in Canada and the United States. Can J Crim 2001; 43: 219-36.

Imprisonment rates are higher in more unequal countries

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Teenage Birth Rates are Higher in More Unequal Rich Countries

22 Source: Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level (2009)

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Social mobility is lower in more unequal countries

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Influence of fathers on sons incomes (intergenerational earnings elasticity)

Fathers’ and sons’ incomes are less closely related in more equal countries

Corak M. Inequality from generation to generation. The Economics of Inequality, Poverty, and Discrimination in the 21st Century, ABC-CLIO. 2012.

Index of: • Life expectancy • Math & Literacy • Infant mortality • Homicides • Imprisonment • Teenage births • Trust • Obesity • Mental illness – incl. drug & alcohol addiction • Social mobility

Index of health and social problems

Health and social problems are worse in more unequal countries

Wilkinson & Pickett, The Spirit Level

www.equalitytrust.org.uk

Mortality: Odds Ratio

Lag times: marginal impact of a 0.01-unit increase in the Gini on individual mortality risk over time

Lag time - Years Zheng H. Social Science & Medicine 2012; 75: 36-45.

The benefits of greater equality are not confined to the poor but extend to all social classes Infant mortality by class: Sweden compared with England & Wales Infant deaths per 1000

15 England & Wales Sweden

10

5

0 Single mothers

Low

Father's occupational class

High

Leon, D. A., D. Vagero, et al. (1992). "Social class differences in infant mortality in Sweden: comparison with England and Wales." Brit Med J 305(6855): 687-91.

Literacy Scores of 16-25 year olds by Parents' Education

1

0.5

Literacy score

Sweden

0

Canada -0.5

-1

United States

-1.5 2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

Parents' Education (years)

28 Source: Willms JD. 1997. Data from OECD Programme for International Student Assessment.

Income differences increase social class differentiation Bigger income differences make:• • •

Class more important The social pyramid higher and more hierarchical The quality of social relations deteriorates

Psychosocial risk factors for ill health  Low social status  Weak social connections  Stress in early life (pre- and postnatally)

30

Cortisol response (effect size)

What kind of stressful tasks raise stress hormones most? 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0

Tasks with „social evaluative threat‟ (uncontrollable)

Other tasks

Dickerson SS, Kemeny ME. Acute stressors and cortisol responses. Psychological Bulletin 2004; 130(3): 355-91.

Self enhancement increases in more unequal societies

Loughnan S, et al. Economic Inequality is linked to biased self-perception. Psychological Science, 2011; 22: 1254

Rising narcissism among American college students

Narcissistic Personality Inventory

(meta-analysis of 85 samples 1979-2006)

Twenge JM, Konrath S, Foster JD, Campbell WK, Bushman BJ. Egos inflating over time. J Personality 2008; 76(4): 875-901.

Trends in income in equality and poverty Germany and OECD: c.1985-2005

Valued or Devalued?

More

inequality

More superiority and inferiority • More status competition and consumerism • More status insecurity •

• More worry about how we are seen and judged • More “social evaluation anxiety” (threats to self-esteem & social status, fear of negative judgements

What can be done? Taxes & benefits Income differences before tax

• Stop tax avoidance

• Increase company democracy employee ownership etc

• End tax havens

• Promote more directors from within companies

• Make taxation progressive again

Sustainability needs greater equality

Photo by kind permission of Matt Stuart

For more information: … a book and a website…

http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk