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Inequalities in the twenty-first century

Researchers: Professor Sir Richard Blundell | Professor Orazio Attanasio ...

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

This ambitious project will develop a holistic picture of what is known about inequality, with a focus on what this tells us about the UK.  It will highlight which inequalities are important and draw conclusions about the most effective policy responses to different types of inequality. Nobel laureate, Professor Sir Angus Deaton, will chair a small expert group drawing on expertise from sociology, epidemiology, political science, philosophy and economics to consider the dimensions and determinants of inequality and the consequences for policy. The group will commission evidence studies from many more leading experts to develop the understanding of inequalities in outcomes by gender, ethnicity, geography, age and education.  The analysis will cover the full breadth of the income and wealth distributions ‘ not just what is happening at the very top and very bottom.

The study will identify the forces that drive inequalities ‘ technological change, labour market institutions, education systems, family structures, globalisation ‘ and the role of policy in shaping and mitigating them. It will undertake comparisons with other countries in the developed world to identify evidence on how different political institutions and policy responses have affected inequality elsewhere.

A key aspect of the study will be to better understand  what concerns people about inequality ‘ engaging with public views to establish what aspects are perceived to be fair and what unfair ‘ and how those concerns relate to the actual levels of inequality and the processes by which they are created.

New data and analyses will be published on a regular basis over the course of the study.  The evidence studies will be presented and discussed at an international conference, and materials will subsequently be published in the first volume of outputs.  A second volume, to be published a year later, will draw on the evidence in the first volume to present findings in an integrated framework and set out policy-options and trade-offs.

Latest on this project


  • Professor Sir Richard Blundell
    Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Professor Orazio Attanasio
    Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London
  • Professor James Banks
    Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Manchester
  • Professor Sir Angus Deaton
    Princeton University
  • Paul Johnson
    Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Robert Joyce
    Institute for Fiscal Studies

  • Alex Beer
    Senior Consultant, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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