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Social and economic inequalities

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Social and economic inequalities are at the heart of many of today’s concerns. There are fears that the fruits of economic growth have not been equally shared and that the burden of economic recession will be unequally distributed. Little progress is being made to overcome longstanding inequalities in health and mortality. Gender gaps have resisted legislative interventions. Groups such as the Roma are living on the periphery of our societies. The education system does not guarantee equality of opportunity. Everyone may have a vote but great wealth conveys political power. China and India may be growing rapidly but global income gaps are widening because much of Africa is being left behind. These issues of inequality have been the subject of much social science research. The breadth of the topic, and the diversity of research in different disciplines, is indeed such that it is possible here to highlight only four of the many ways in which social science has contributed to increasing our

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