Our Research on Inequality
Our investment research seeks to understand and illuminate all the factors that drive global economies, including inequality and its ongoing impact on economic outcomes. See a selection of our research related to inequality here.
September 9, 2020
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, it was clear that traditional economic measures had increasingly diverged from social outcomes. Despite a decade of economic expansion and falling unemployment, social conditions deteriorated across a variety of measures. COVID-19 has brought these pressures to a head. Looking ahead, social conditions will have rising impacts on markets as policy evolves to more explicitly consider such issues in evaluating its goals. Fiscal policy is likely to take on a greater role in the decade to come, and is inherently distributional. The Fed, too, is increasingly taking into account social disparities.
November 26, 2019
Policy makers have traditionally relied on broad, macroeconomic measures of how the economy is performing, such as GDP growth, the unemployment rate, and inflation. These measures are enshrined in most central bank mandates, for example. Over time, consistent economic growth with stable inflation led to rising prosperity, so these indicators were a pretty good proxy of what policy makers should pay attention to. But in recent years, social outcomes have increasingly diverged from traditional macroeconomic measures.
Bridgewater Founder and Co-CIO Ray Dalio explores why capitalism is not working for the majority of Americans, diagnoses why it is producing these inadequate results, and offers some suggestions for what can be done to reform it. These problems are creating widening income, wealth, and opportunity gaps which pose existential threats, bringing about damaging domestic and international conflicts and weakening America’s condition.
March 27, 2019
In Peak Profit Margins? A US Perspective, we discussed the secular rise in US profit margins and our view that many of the forces that have driven those margin increases should not be extrapolated forward. Without that consistent expansion of margins, US equities would be 40% lower than they are today. Margins have been rising for 25 years, and when we look at market pricing, it appears to us that the market is extrapolating further margin gains.
Our Biggest Economic, Social, and Political Issue — The Two Economies: The Top 40% and the Bottom 60%
October 23, 2017
Today, wealth and income skews are so great that average statistics no longer reflect the conditions of the majority of Americans. To give you a sense of what the picture below the averages look like, we broke the economy into two economies — that of the top 40% and that of the bottom 60%.
February 7, 2019
Over the last two decades, US corporate profit margins have surged and have contributed more than half of the excess return of equities relative to cash. Without that consistent expansion of margins, US equities would be 40% lower than they are today. Margins have been rising for 25 years, and when we look at market pricing, it appears to us that the market is extrapolating further margin gains. The long-term valuation of equities hinges heavily on what happens to margins going forward: if margin gains can be extrapolated, then valuations look reasonable; if margins stagnate, then valuations are a bit expensive but not terrible; if margins revert toward historical averages, then equities are highly overvalued.