Trends in economic growth and levels of wealth inequality in G20 nations: 2001–2013


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During the first 13 years of the twenty-first century, the world economy experienced a period of economic volatility with a rapid boom followed by a strong contraction and then a prolonged recession. This volatility provides a unique opportunity to examine the associations between economic growth and levels of wealth inequality. In this paper, I use data published by the World Bank to examine trends in economic growth; data published by Credit Suisse to examine trends in levels of wealth inequality; and data collated from the billionaires lists published by Forbes Magazine to examine the concentration of wealth at the very top of the distribution in the G20 nations. Overall, the results presented in this paper indicate that rapid economic growth was associated with increased wealth inequality and exceptionally large increases in the number of billionaires, whereas negative or low levels of economic growth were associated with declining or stable levels of wealth inequality and more moderate increases, or a decline, in the numbers of billionaires.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-281
Number of pages12
JournalContemporary Social Science
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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