Economist Branko Milanovic has been doing the most work lately on the subject of global inequality, and how it’s changed in recent decades.
Last night on Twitter he was offering up some nuggets from his recent paper: Global Income Distribution From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Great Recession.
One chart he tweeted — which wasn’t in the paper, but which he had the data for — was a comparison in per capita income between the poor in the US and the relatively upper class in China. Specifically, he compared the incomes of the 20th percentile in America (lower class people who make more than just 20% of other Americans) to the 80th percentile in China (upper class people who make more than 80% of Chinese).
As of 2008, the American 20th percentile were still making considerably more than China’s 80th percentile, but the gap closed massively in recent decades, as the US lower class has stagnated while China’s upper-class has surged.
In another tweet from his paper, he summarized the effects of globalization over the last couple of decades in just four sentences. Read this; it’s fascinating:
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