Friday, July 28, 2017

Unequal Sweden

In the last 30 years, the gap between Sweden’s rich and poor has grown.

Since the 1980s, income inequality has increased more in Sweden than in any other OECD country with available data. In a report published earlier this year, the OECD looked at the Gini coefficient; a measure of income inequality within a country (where a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality and 100 is perfect inequality). After taxes and transfers, researchers found that the Gini index in Sweden jumped from 20.9 in 1980 to 27.3 in its latest figures (2013 or later).

Sweden’s equality has deteriorated due to the rising incomes of top earners. All Swedish income groups have seen incomes grow since the 1990s, but growth has been highly unequal: The top 10% saw their earnings increase by 60%, while the bottom 10% saw their earnings increase by 20%. Top earners have largely benefited from capital gains, rising house prices and the deregulation of the stock market.

The country’s wealth is largely concentrated with the top 1%. Estimates suggest that between 1975 and 2006 the wealth share of the top % may have more than doubled.