Economic Crises and Inequality

74 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2013

See all articles by A. B. Atkinson

A. B. Atkinson

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine

Salvatore Morelli

The Graduate Center - CUNY

Date Written: November 7, 2011


Sustainability for a society means long-term viability, but also the ability to cope with economic crises and disasters. Just as with natural disasters, we can minimize the chance of them occurring and set in place policies to protect the world’s citizens against their consequences. This paper is concerned with the impact of economic crises on the inequality of resources and with the impact of inequality on the probability of economic crises. Is it the poor who bear the brunt? Or are crises followed by a reversal of previous boom in top incomes? Reversing the question, was the 2007 financial crisis the result of prior increases in inequality? Have previous periods of high inequality led to crises? What can we learn from previous crises – such as those in Nordic countries and the Asian financial crisis? How far can public policy moderate the impact of economic crises?

Suggested Citation

Atkinson, A. B. and Morelli, Salvatore, Economic Crises and Inequality (November 7, 2011). UNDP-HDRO Occasional Papers No. 2011/6. Available at SSRN:

A. B. Atkinson (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

Salvatore Morelli

The Graduate Center - CUNY ( email )

695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States

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