Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cultural Aspects of Inequality

A response to Mind the Gap, a review of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger:

At one time, as an MBA student with academic leanings, I considered researching and publishing an analysis using Hofstede's cultural dimensions and economic outcomes. What I found was that economic inequality, as measured by the GINI coefficient, correlated strongly with negative social outcomes. Trying to explain the underlying social dimension in developed countries, excluding Japan because of the vast differences in culture, it seemed that masculine (gender-divided) cultures were more unequal, but the correlation was only about .3. Intuitively, it seems obvious that the children of Britain are grossly unequal and the least social-outcome positive, and although the Northern European states are more equal and more socially positive, France and its 'children', Belgium and Canada, also have better social outcomes and lower inequality than the Anglo-Saxon states.
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