Inequality rising - OECD
A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Focus on Inequality and Growth , shows that societies are becoming more unequal and this trend harms economic growth through limited education opportunities. Evidence suggests “income inequality undermines education opportunities for disadvantaged individuals, lowering social mobility and hampering skills development.”
Among the 22 countries included in the report, New Zealand is among five where inequality grew most significantly from 1985 to 2011/2012.
“Parents want what’s best for their children. It becomes increasingly difficult for parents and whānau to ensure the best environment and education opportunities for their children when they are facing significant pressures around finances, access to housing, food and health care,” said Clare Wells, Chief Executive of New Zealand Kindergartens.
This report confirms the bottom 40% of income earners, including those on benefits, are impacted.The key findings of the report highlight the importance of continuing to invest in families and the earliest years of a child’s life and education, and to work toward a society where incomes are distributed more equitably.
- “The gap between rich and poor is now at its highest level in 30 years in most OECD countries.
- This long-term trend increase in income inequality has curbed economic growth significantly.
- While the overall increase in income inequality is also driven by the very rich 1% pulling away, what matters most for growth are families with lower incomes slipping behind.
- This negative effect of inequality on growth is determined not just by the poorest income decile but actually by the bottom 40% of income earners.
- This is because inter alia people from disadvantaged social backgrounds underinvest in their education.
- Tackling inequality through tax and transfer policies does not harm growth, provided these policies are well designed and implemented.
- In particular, redistribution efforts should focus on families with children and youth, as this is where key decisions on human capital investment are made and should promote skills development and learning across people’s lives.”
New Zealand Kindergartens: Clare Wells, Chief Executive, NZK m: 0272 955 044