Two stories about inequality

Good storytelling showing both pictures.

Economics for public policy

In many rich countries the “hard” facts describing the income distribution are easily available. Yet, discussions about inequality are animated by two different stories with very different public policy implications.

You can listen to a caricature of these points of view in this pair of interviews on CBC radio: http://www.cbc.ca/radiowest/2015/01/21/two-different-takes-on-the-worlds-wealthiest-one-per-cent/

I offer more detail on the way Canadians have framed these stories as a part of a presentation to the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s university.

Here is Story 1 in pictures (click on the images to enlarge).

Story 1 Inequality has not changedStory 1 Middle incomes have been on the riseStory 1 Poverty rates have fallenStory 1 Top income shares have not risen much

Here is Story 2 in pictures (click on the images to enlarge).

Story 2 Inequality has increasedStory 2 Middle income have not risenStory 2 Poverty rates are unchangedStory 2 Top income shares have risen

My presentation argued that context—rooted in economic theory and the appropriate use of statistics—is needed to understand the truth behind these stories, and to turn them into a conversation useful for public policy.

Here is the full set of slides I used.

Corak_Two_Stories_about_Inequality_and_Public_Policy_presentation_to_Queens_University_February_5_2015

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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