There are many things to say about the varied causes and potential effects of inequality. But one oft-neglected question that's worth asking is: Do people generally have an accurate picture of the level of inequality that exists in their countries? The short answer, according to a recent paper from the Institute for the Study of Labor, is that they do not. In Misperceiving Inequality, researchers Vladimir Gimpelson and Daniel Treisman note, first of all, that only 29 per cent of respondents across 40 countries were able to identify which of five diagrams best characterized income distribution in their societies--which is not much more accurate than random chance.
As the Wynne Government prepares to release its next budget, voters are expecting to finally get a formal introduction to the Premier's plan for Ontario. But after years of public sector funding freezes, Ontarians are expecting more than just belt loosening: they want to see concrete investment in their collective future.
Income disparity also means that working and living in the same place is a luxury few of us can afford -- not just in third world countries, but in small Canadian rural communities as well. Ironically, our stronger economy is also leading to a weaker society. We can't be there for one another as much as we once were. We're too busy making money.
Given the debate over the past few years about income inequality and the fact that many people do not consider how the income of individuals change over time, a new study, "Measuring Income Mobility in Canada" recently published by the Fraser Institute, provides fresh evidence on how the incomes of Canadians change over the course of their lives. While we welcome thoughtful criticisms of our methods and analysis, a recent blog penned by Professor Michale Wolfson of the University of Ottawa does a disservice to the discussion when he suggests the results are misleading and the analysis was done unfairly without adequate justification.