Does economic globalisation affect income inequality?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 17, 2022


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In 200 words give your though on the below post
Is globalisation leading to growing income inequality?
Whether globalisation have led to growing income inequality has been in debate for decades and researches on the topic have been inconclusive, as there are numerous factors or methodologies to assess the issue.
Nobel economist Robert Solow suggested globalisation which caused rapid technological advancement induced an increase in the supply of low skilled labour (Perry, 2008). Thus, lowering the wages earned by low skilled workers. This theory is supported by OECD (2015) findings that income gap between the rich and poor has been widening in both advanced and developing countries.
On the other hand, some theorists such as, Stopler-Samuelson surmised in 1941 that globalisation does indeed create income inequality in developed countries where there is an abundance supply of low skilled labour. But it creates work for developing countries thus, increasing local wages and decrease income inequality in developing countries. Moreover, Kim (2020) found the GDP per capita is highest in freer countries. Suggesting high economic freedom does create wealth which may be true on a macro level. But there is limitation on this methodology when assessing the micro level of income per person. GDP per capita measurement effectively represents an average GDP amount. Even with a large wealth gap, the GDP per capita can be high if the top 1% of the population has an absurdly high income.
Despite what these theories and researches found, there are myriad of factors which it cannot account for. There are local politics and education factors which may also contribute to income inequality. Whether local government policies safeguard the well being of low skilled workers or the competitive level a country is against other countries may affect the income a worker gets.
Nonetheless, in 2021 America the top 1% owns 32.3% of the nation’s wealth whereas, bottom 90% wealth declined from 30.5% to 30.2% (Frank, 2022). Wealthy top 1% in America also increased their wealth by more than 33% during pandemic period. Despite Heimberger’s (2020) meta-analysis only finding a low to moderate correlation between globalisation and income inequality. Wealth gap issue does exist. It does not matter whether globalisation have caused income inequality. The fact is growing wealth gap does exists, countries and companies alike should work together to tackle the issue.
FRANK, R. 2022. Soaring markets helped the richest 1% gain $6.5 trillion in wealth last year, according to the Fed [Online]. CNBC. Available: [Accessed 16 November 2022].
HEIMBERGER, P. 2020. Does economic globalisation affect income inequality? A meta-analysis. The World Economy, 43, 2960-2982.
KIM, A. 2020. Why Economic Freedom Matters More Than Ever: In 3 Charts [Online]. The Heritage Foundation. Available: [Accessed 15 November 2022].
OECD. 2015. In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All, OECD Publishing, Paris,
PERRY, J. 2008. Nobel Laureates Say Globalization’s Winners Should Aid Poor [Online]. Wall Street Journal. Available: [Accessed 15 November 2022].
STOPLER, W., SAMUELSON, P. (1941). Protection and real wages. The Review of Economic Studies, 9(1), 58–73.


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