Launch of the report: next event Inequality and the top 10% in Europe

23/09/2020

Did you know you may be among the better off? A great share the top 10% income earners do not recognise themselves as rich or affluent

The study released today actually reveals that, even before the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, the most affluent in societies across Europe declared they are struggling with the cost of living and are feeling insecure and fearful about their future and that of their children.

Inequality and the top 10% in Europe is a two-years pioneering study conducted in four European countries which examines the financial position and attitudes towards inequality amongst the top 10% of income earners. Most inequality studies concentrate 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 their economic position, perceptions and values.

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

Five Key Findings

1. Those in the top 10% do not think of themselves as ‘rich’. They compare themselves and look at the more affluent but rarely interact with those in the top 1% or 0.1%

2. They are further away from the top 1% than they are from the median earner (at 50%). The top 1% of earners is moving further away from the rest of population, also further from the rest of the 10%.

3. They feel politically alienated and disconnected from the rest of the society, despite their political influence.

4. They still hold on to meritocratic narratives to explain inequality; they tend to believe that working hard pays.

5. They support redistribution more than they used to – but of course, the want higher taxes to be targeted on those earning more than they do. Most are ambivalent about or supportive of taxes on wealth whilst they often oppose inheritance tax because they want to leave something for their children.

FEPS President Maria Joao Rodrigues: “This Report lifts the lid on how the so-called success stories of the most advantaged citizens are also failing. They are struggling, often because of the lack of key public service infrastructure in areas like health, education or housing. If the system isn’t working for them, then it certainly isn’t working for anyone else either, except the top 1%. And what about the others 90%? Even worst. We are in face of an extreme concentration of wealth

This research shows that any progressive messaging seeking to appeal to the top 10% has to stress that greater equality benefits everyone, even themselves, and public investment in public services provides the antidote to insecurity and financial vulnerability.

Read the report

Check the presentation by Marcos Gonzalez Hernando, Research coordinator for the project (slideshow) 

Find all related publications
Publications
28/02/2024

Progressive ideas to make international trade successful for all

12/02/2024

The Social Pillar and the future of the EU Social Agenda

24/01/2024

Progressive Yearbook 2024

Looking back to look ahead
29/11/2023

Social Europe: From vision to vigour

FEPS Primer series - Björn Hacker
Find all related events
Events
Upcoming
15/03/2024
Cieszyn, Poland

Health for all

From a slogan to a reality for Europe
Past
12/02/2024
Austrian Permanent Representation, Brussels

The European Pillar of Social Rights

Turning principles into practice
30/01/2024
FEPS HQ (Expert meeting)

Progressive Economics Network

Towards a progressive toolbox to deal with inflation
Find all related news
News
24/01/2024

Spanish Minister Teresa Ribera awarded FEPS ‘Progressive Person of the Year’

18/01/2024

FEPS President at Euronews talk-show ‘Brussels, my love?’

29/11/2023

Economic Democracy

FEPS launches an initiative on Economic Democracy
09/10/2023

Tax the rich

A European Citizens' Initiative
Find all related in the media
In the media

FEPS President at Euronews talk-show ‘Brussels, my love?’

by Euronews 15/01/2024
Panellists discussed topics including EU fiscal rules reform, German farmer's protests, and the decision of Charles Michel to quit his job early to run for MEP.

Socialistas europeos reclaman que la Europa social sea la prioridad de la futura Comisión

by EuroEFE 09/11/2023
'European socialists demand that social Europe be the priority for the future Commission' article about the 'Champions of progress: Progressives go the extra mile for Social Europe!' side event organized by FEPS and PES

“Trade doesn’t work in isolation from good domestic policies” Interview to Arancha González

by Borderlex 19/09/2023
Interview to Arancha González, former Spanish foreign minister, who released together with FEPS the new book entitled 'The Trade Handbook: Making Trade Work for Prosperity, People and Planet'

A szociális unió imperatívusza

by Új Egyenlőség 09/09/2023
'The imperative of Social Union'. Article about FEPS book 'Europe’s Social Integration: Welfare Models and Economic Transformations' by László Andor.