Seminar open to CLAHRC YH colleagues ‘The Human Costs of Inequality’

The University of Sheffield, ScHARR seminar on Tuesday 24th of May, 12.30-1.30pm is from Kate Pickett who is Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences, the University of York, and University Champion for research on justice and inequality.

The seminar takes place in the Pemberton Room, Regent Court, Sheffield S1 4DA and CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber staff and students are welcome to attend and tea and coffee is provided. You are also welcome to bring your lunch to this seminar.

Kate’s presentation is called ‘The Human Costs of Inequality‘ and here is a summary of the talk:

Comparing life expectancy, mental health, levels of violence, teenage birth rates, drug abuse, child wellbeing, obesity rates, levels of trust, the educational performance of school children, or the strength of community life among rich countries, it is clear that societies which tend to do well on one of these measures tend to do well on all of them, and the ones which do badly, do badly on all of them.  What accounts for the difference?

The key is the amount of inequality in each society. The picture is consistent whether we compare rich countries or the 50 states of the USA.  The more unequal a society is, the more ill health and social problems it has.

Inequality has always been regarded as divisive and socially corrosive.  The data show that even small differences in the amount of inequality matter.  Material inequality serves as a determinant of the scale and importance of social stratification. It increases status insecurity and competition and the prevalence of all the problems associated with relative deprivation. Particularly important are effects mediated by social status, friendship and early childhood experience. However, although the amount of inequality has its greatest effect on rates of problems among the poor, its influence extends to almost all income groups: too much inequality reduces levels of well-being among the vast majority of the population.

Kate was a UK NIHR Career Scientist from 2007-2012 and is a Fellow of the RSA and of the UK Faculty of Public Health.  She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of the bestselling The Spirit Level, winner of the 2012 Publication of the Year from the Political Studies Association, winner of the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize, and translated into 24 languages.  Richard and Kate were awarded a 2013 Silver Rose Award from Solidar for championing equality and the 2014 Charles Cully Medal of the Irish Cancer Society.

Kate is also a co-founder and trustee of The Equality Trust.  She was a Commissioner for the York Fairness Commission and for the national Living Wage Commission.  She sits on the Scientific Council of Inequality Watch, the Scientific Board of Progressive Economy, and is a member of the Human Capital Research Working Group of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.  She is on the Steering Committee of the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity.


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