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Inequality: Mechanisms, Effects and Policies


The INEQ project has three objectives: a. investigate, against the background of the global economy and the North-South relationships, the economic and social mechanisms that are producing inequality within European countries and in the European Union as a hole and make for its persistence; b. investigate the effects inequality has on economic performance and social integration in Europe; c. identify actual and possible policies at the national and EU levels. As to wage inequality, three key economic mechanisms will be studied, with a focus on EU countries and on a group of developing/neighbouring countries: technological change; global trade and FDI; finance.

They will be integrated into a general economic modelling for EU countries that may allow to compare their relative importance and to simulate the impact of different policies. As to market income inequality in Europe account will be taken of non-wage income, of households composition and employment. Finally the re-distributive role of Welfare states will allow investigating the dynamics of disposable income. Considering social processes, the gender, inter-generational and ethnic/immigrant factors leading to social polarisation and inequality will be addressed in the case of EU countries; at the global level, the social dynamics reacting to inequalities will be investigated focusing on the activities of non state actors and on collective mobilisations challenging current policies.

In terms of policy, a variety of economic (taxation, expenditure, welfare reform, etc.) and social (on gender, immigrant, social rights) policies that affect inequality within Europe will be analysed, showing how public decision making contributes or restrains the inequality mechanisms and their effects. A set of blueprints will be prepared with detailed recommendations on how national and EU policies could contribute to reduce inequalities, both within Europe and, for their part, at the global level.

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