The Increasingly Unequal States of America

Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price

Analyzing income inequality by state, Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price document the sharp rise in economic inequality over the last 35 years. Sommeiller and Price find that between 1929 and 1979, a time of rising minimum wages, low levels of unemployment, and union contracts, the share of income held by the top 1 percent declined in all but one state. But since 1979, every state has endured widening inequality. The authors caution that this shift will likely persist, unless states begin to create policies that support a more balanced economy. 

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