What do we know and what should we do about inequality?

Publication type



Publication date

June 15, 2019


‘What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Inequality?’ is part of a new book series offering short, up-to-date overviews of key issues often misrepresented or simplified in the mainstream media. In this book, Professor Mike Brewer discusses ‘What We Know’ about economic inequalities in the UK, presenting new analysis of the top 1% and 0.1% in the UK, and summarising the causes and consequences of high levels of inequality. Brewer answers the following questions: 1) Why is curbing inequality now regarded as a global challenge?, 2) Why did the UK become more unequal during the 1980s?, 3) What has happened to incomes since the financial crash in 2008 and the government austerity that followed?, 4) How relevant is Thomas Piketty's prediction that growing wealth inequalities will return us to levels of inequality last seen at the dawn of the twentieth century? The author concludes by suggesting ‘What We Should Do’ to move the UK off its high-inequality path, including further taxation, wealth redistribution and welfare reform. Intended for anyone seeking a quick and authoritative understanding of inequality in the modern era.





Is referenced by: Brewer, M., Corlett, A., Handscomb, K., McCurdy, C., and Tomlinson, D. (2020) ‘The living standards audit 2020’. London: Resolution Foundation.

Not held in Hilary Doughty Research Library - bibliographic reference only



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest