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Where do we stand on inequality? Reflections on recent research and its implications

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This article reviews and extends existing research on levels of income inequality and of intergenerational social mobility in the UK. While there continues to be widespread concern about inequality of incomes, this is declining and focused mostly on higher earners – there appears to be less public concern about any injustice in terms of the numbers on lower incomes. Recent research on social mobility has been influential and may be one means of focusing attention on the effects of a widening income distribution. Even so, such research could do more to highlight the differences in outcomes based on personal characteristics (eg disability and minority ethnic background) as well as parental characteristics. Overall, it is argued that an egalitarian agenda faces considerable challenges in the UK.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 2010

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