In This Review

The Globalization of Inequality
The Globalization of Inequality
By François Bourguignon
Princeton University Press, 2015, 224 pp

Bourguignon, a former World Bank chief economist, presents a thoughtful and judicious analysis of economic inequality, considering the phenomenon in both developed and developing countries, examining its likely consequences, and suggesting some possible remedies. After growing steadily since 1820, global inequality has declined markedly since 1990, even while income and wealth inequality within most countries have increased. The explanation for this apparent paradox is that poor countries, most notably populous China and India, have grown more rapidly than have rich countries. Both developments can be attributed in part to globalization, but also in part to technological changes that have, among other things, permitted much larger audiences for entertainment and cultural products, resulting in highly compensated superstars in sports, music, and movies. The book is highly accessible yet also sophisticated, drawing on a large and growing technical and empirical literature on inequality.