Monday, October 31, 2011

Wilkinson on Inequality

Richard Wilkinson gives a nice short talk for TED on his work with Kate Pickett: The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.  His thesis is intriguing if not always convincing.  He shows a number of strikingly strong correlations between measures of social well-being and inequality, arguing that inequality causes conflict and stress.  For a number of his measures, the simple causal story seems pretty uncompelling: there is a chicken & egg problem with any argument that explains high-school dropout rates using income inequality.  Nevertheless, I was struck by the number of social phenomenon that seem to be consistently related, even if the causal story is confusing.

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