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Why socio-economic inequalities increase? Facts and policy responses in Europe

2010, EUR 24471 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-16343-2, doi: 10.2777/94928, 50 pages (PDF icon 3.21MB)



There is now compelling scientific evidence that since the mid-1970s socio-economic inequalities have greatly increased in the world and also in Europe. What the research in Social Sciences and the Humanities clearly show is that countries with higher socio-economic inequalities also experience more acute socio-economic problems - whether we are speaking about lower economic growth, more violence, poorer educational achievements, lower civic or electoral participation or higher mortality rates. At the same time, we have experienced sustained economic growth since the 1980s. This means that the kind of growth experienced over the last decades fosters inequalities and, with them, all the social and economic evils that strike the European Union and weaken it as a model for progress and well-being. The way forward is a new socio-ecological model which will have the European democratic values of equity and progress at its heart and make sure that socio-economic inequalities will decline and soon.