2020 will soon be over, and with it an incredibly trying year. The editors at IMFBlog wish you good health and peace over the holidays ahead, and into the new year.
In case you missed some of the compelling facts and figures in our Charts of the Week series this year, we have pulled together your top reads.
Here are the top ten charts of the week for 2020, based on your readership.
By Gita Bhatt
There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen. This saying could not be more apt today. The pandemic—which has disrupted the world in profound ways—has prompted countries to roll out significant policy changes that might otherwise have taken years. It has also sped the arrival of technologies and new ways of working and learning, moving us almost overnight into a new era. […]
Wealth begets wealth. This simple concept of privilege has added to growing discontent with inequality that has escalated under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A paper co-authored this year by economists from the IMF and other institutions confirms that wealthier people are more likely to earn higher returns on their investments. It also shows that the children of wealthy people, while likely to inherit that wealth, aren’t necessarily going to make the same high returns on investments.
Detailed data on wealth are extremely rare, but 12-years of tax records (2004-2015) from Norway have opened a new window into wealth accumulation for individuals and their offspring. The Nordic country has a wealth tax that requires assets to be reported by employers, banks and other third parties in order to reduce errors from self-reporting. The data, which are made public under certain conditions, also make it possible to match parents with their children.
The data show that an individual in the 75th percentile of wealth distribution who invested $1 in 2004 would have yielded $1.50 by the end of 2015—a return of 50 percent. A person in the top 0.1 percent would have yielded $2.40 on the same invested dollar—a return of 140 […]
Emerging markets and developing economies grew consistently in the two decades before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, allowing for much-needed gains in poverty reduction and life expectancy. The crisis now puts much of that progress at risk while further widening the gap between rich and poor.
Despite the pre-pandemic gains in poverty reduction and lifespans, many of these countries have struggled to reduce income inequality. At the same time, they saw persistently high shares of inactive youth (i.e., those not in employment, education, or training), wide inequality in education, and large gaps remaining in economic opportunities for women. COVID-19 is expected to make inequality even worse than past crises since measures to contain the pandemic have had disproportionate effects on vulnerable workers and women.
As part of our latest World Economic Outlook we explore two facts about the current pandemic to estimate its effect on inequality: a person’s ability to work from home and the drop in GDP expected for most countries in the world.
The impact of where you work
First, the ability to work from home has been key during the pandemic. A […]
Inequality in both advanced economies and emerging markets has been on the rise in recent decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and raised awareness of disparities between the rich and poor.
Fiscal policies and structural reforms are long known to be powerful mitigators of inequality. But what role can the central bank play?
In new IMF staff research, we find a case for central bankers to take inequality specifically into account when conducting monetary policy.
A new view on monetary policy
Even though inequality remains outside central banks’ mandates, major central bankers are increasingly discussing distributional issues. At the same time, recent advances in economic theory shed new light on the interplay of monetary policy and inequality.
It is now accepted within academia and major central banks that wealth and income inequality affect the effectiveness of monetary policy. This is because the poor, who tend to be more liquidity constrained than the rich, increase their consumption more as their incomes rise in response to an interest rate cut. The same rate cut thus stimulates aggregate consumption more in an economy with a larger proportion of the poor. Relatedly, there is evidence […]
The pandemic has altered people’s lives in both enormous and small ways. Our editors have picked the top recent blogs that dig into the details of what COVID-19 means for people: the impact on women and the young, what it means for the food supply, and how it can increase already growing inequality, to name a few. […]
The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating labor markets across the world. Tens of millions of workers lost their jobs, millions more out of the labor force altogether, and many occupations face an uncertain future. […]