Special Issue | 23 May 2014The science of inequality

INTRODUCTIONScience's special section on the science of inequality uses fresh waves of data to explore the origins, impact, and future of inequality around the world. [Read the full introduction]


Science Video

Talking mobility

Social mobility is linked with where we are born—but what's behind those connections?

The ancient roots of the 1%

Don't blame farming. Inequality got its start among resource-rich hunter-gatherers.

Our egalitarian Eden

Today's economic inequality goes back thousands of years but in evolutionary time it is relatively recent.

Physicists say it’s simple

If the poor will always be with us, an analogy to the second law of thermodynamics may explain why.

Inevitable inequality?

The distribution of wealth between and within countries stems from progress in health and wealth that began 250 years ago.

Inequality in the long run

Everything you wanted to know and weren’t afraid to ask about income and wealth.

Tax man’s gloomy message: the rich will get richer

With a massive database of income tax records, a French superstar challenges conventional wisdom on inequality.
News Graphic

A world of difference

New data allow researchers to map inequality the world over.

Also in this Special Issue:


Can disparities be deadly?

Controversial research explores whether living in an unequal society can make people sick.

The intergenerational transmission of inequality

Helping needy mothers helps their children.

On the psychology of poverty

Being poor exacts psychological costs, too.

While emerging economies boom, equality goes bust

Inequality spikes in developing nations around the world.

Income inequality in the developing world

Growth does not widen the gap between rich and poor.

Skills, education, and the rise of earnings inequality among the "other 99 percent"

A rising tide lifts some people's boats, but capsizes others

Tracking who climbs up—and who falls down—the ladder

Researchers seek new ways to understand social mobility and opportunity in America
Book Review

Social mobility: Fixed forever?

A review of "The Son Also Rises Surnames and the History of Social Mobility" by Gregory Clark et al.
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More on the science of inequality

How two social scientists got unique access to tax records, the meaning of "IGE" and more…
Science Video

Millennials on Mobility

Join two Washington D.C.-based artists for dinner as they share what social mobility means to their generation.

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