How can the world address inequality? 7 experts explain

-The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated socioeconomic inequalities.

-Mitigating inequality requires a mix of bottom-up and top-down changes that address the underlying social and economic systems.

-Seven experts shine a light on creating a future that leaves no one behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated socioeconomic inequalities within and across countries. The policy responses designed to mitigate them in the form of either relief and recovery packages or welfare protections have mostly proved to be short-term fixes. In the long-term, however, the distributional consequences of the pandemic between and within countries, as in during previous pandemics and recessions, are bound to widen inequality.

According to the World Inequality Database 2020 update, Latin America and the Middle East stand as the world’s most unequal regions, with the top 10% of the income distribution capturing 54% and 56% of the average national income respectively. Despite Gulf countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia) having among the highest GDP per capita levels, they have also marked extreme inequality levels, with little variation since the 1990s. However, the starkest change has been the rise in concentration of incomes in the US, with the top 10% witnessing an increase from 34% to 45% of the national income between 1980 and 2019.

The data are an indicator that countries with strong investments in public services, social protection, and labour market policies have the lowest inequality levels, with Europe standing as the most equal of all regions driven by its redistribution and progressive taxation, seen in the

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