Income inequality has risen in the majority of advanced economies and in most emerging economies since 1990. Across the globe, there has been a steady and dramatic rise in the concentration of wealth in the top 10 percent of the population and an even larger increase in the top one percent.
Even in countries where the gap between rich and poor narrowed, there are still large segments of the population whose economic status remains stagnant or has declined. Societies are always marked by different levels of resources among their members, but certain levels of inequality are so profound that they deprive individuals of the fundamental opportunities that all people should have.
Severe inequality often results in a lack of access to basic resources such as education, health, labor, and housing — resources that enable people to realize their full potential. The consequences of this lack of opportunity can endure over a lifetime or even for generations, affecting individuals, families, and communities.
Two projects that emerged from our unequal opportunity Forum are currently underway:
On June 19, 2018, Columbia World Projects (CWP) held a Forum with about 35 experts from inside and outside Columbia University. The goal of the meeting was to deepen understanding of the challenges associated with unequal opportunity and identify promising projects CWP could implement to improve lives and reduce inequality. Before the meeting, experts worked with CWP staff to develop 12 project proposals, which we discussed and evaluated during the Forum.
Working Groups and Project Proposals
Forum participants were split into five working groups organized by theme: education, housing, health, labor, and public policy and the economics of inequality. Subject matter experts were assigned to the groups based on their knowledge, background and different views on the topic.
Each working group had to evaluate several project proposals developed in advance by participants and CWP staff.
Read more about the project proposals and the working group discussions in our Forum report.
Lee C. BollingerPresident, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Peter BergmanAssistant Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Neil BoothbyProfessor of Population and Family Health, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Jeanne Brooks-GunnColumbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Deborah DeSantisPresident and CEO, Corporation for Supportive HousingRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Nabila El-BasselWillma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Jason FurmanFormer Chair, Council of Economic Advisers (2013-2017)Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy, Harvard Kennedy SchoolRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Jason Furman is Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Negar GhobadiMonitoring and Evaluation Manager in Jordan, Norwegian Refugee CouncilRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Malo HutsonDirector, Project DevelopmentAssociate Professor of Urban Planning and Director of the Urban Community and Health Equity Lab, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Merit JanowDean of the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Olatunde JohnsonJerome B. Sherman Professor of Law and Vice-Dean for Intellectual Life, Columbia Law SchoolRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Mary JordanNational Correspondent, The Washington PostRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Alan KhazeiCEO, Be The Change, Inc.Read Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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Upmanu LallColumbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
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