Inequality and the top 10% in Europe

23/09/2020
00:00 - 00:00
Inequality and the top 10% in Europe
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23rd September 2020 – 10.00 (GTM+1)/ 11.00 (CET)

This event marks the launch of 4-country study on the financial position and attitudes towards inequality amongst the top 10% of income earners in four European countries: The UK, Spain, Sweden and Ireland. The countries were selected for the study because of their distinctive economies, welfare policies and experiences of the 2007/8 financial crash.


The study concentrates on the top 10%, excluding the extremely wealthy in the top 1%. Most inequality studies have concentrated on contrasting the top 1% with the other 99%. However, given the high participation in conventional politics and the strong political influence of the top 10%, it is vital to understand the economic position and perceptions on inequality held by, not just the top 1%, but the remaining segment of the top 10% if structural inequality is to be realistically addressed by policy makers.

The launch will consist of a keynote address by Prof Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography of the School of Geography and the Environment of the University of Oxford, followed by a presentation of the findings by Marcos Gonzalez Hernando, the research coordinator for the project, and responses by Irish and EU politicians.

Inequality and the top 10% in Europe is a collaboration by Arena Idé (Sweden), Compass (UK), Fundación Alternativas (Spain) and TASC, the Think Tank for Action on Social Change in Ireland, with the support of FEPS, the Foundation for Progressive Studies.

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  • The Worried Well-Off – Five Key Findings
  • They do not think of themselves as ‘rich’, They compare themselves – but rarely interact with those in the top 1% or 0.1%
  • They are further away from the top 1% than they are from the median earner (at 50%).
  • They still hold on to meritocratic narratives to explain inequality.
  • They are politically alienated, despite their political influence.
  • They support redistribution more than they used to – but want higher taxes to be targeted on those earning more than they do.

Speakers confirmed:

Shana Cohen, Director of TASC
Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography of the School of Geography and the Environment of the University of Oxford
Marcos Gonzalez Hernando, Research coordinator for the project
Paul Gavan, Senator Sinn Féin
Gerry Mitchell, Researcher for the project
Ged Nash, Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Irish Labour party
Maria Joao Rodriguez, FEPS President

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