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Groningen Growth and Development Centre

Faculty of Economics and Business
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Inequality moves in cycles

Date:10 September 2018
Opposing inequality trends
Opposing inequality trends

New research by Herman de Jong and María Gómez León, published in the Economic History Review, examines inequality in Germany and the United Kingdom in the first half of the twentieth century. Over this period, the developments have mirrored each other in the two countries. In particular in Germany, inequality shows pronounced swings from a Gini coefficient during WW I of over 50 (comparable to South Africa today) to below 30 (comparable to Western European countries today) in the early 1930s. More generally, such swings are consistent with the view of Branko Milanovic in Global Inequality that inequality moves in cycles rather than being driving by secular trends.