Inequality: A Brief Overview


Inequality: A Brief Overview

February 26, 2012


Income inequality has increased dramatically in the US over several decades, year-to-year variation in incomes has increased a bit less, and economic mobility has changed little. There are many kinds of inequality: equality of opportunity is desirable, but equality of outcomes might not be desirable, if inequality of outcomes motivates productive investment. Recently, the greatest increases in inequality have come at the top of the distribution, with implications for policy and politics, as the majority of resources are concentrated in fewer hands. Tax policy, asset-building policy, and policies directly affecting low-income working families are among the most salient levers.

Cross-Center Initiative

Cross-Center Initiative: 
To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.