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Income inequality, education expenditures, and growth

But data shows that income inequality is on the rise, in developed and developing countries alike. According to the OECD, income inequality is at its highest level for the past half century. The average income of the richest 10 percent of the population is about nine times that of the poorest 10 percent across the OECD, up from seven times 25 years ago.

And this is a problem for all of us.

Some income inequality is inevitable, even welcome. It helps drive progress, incentivizes and rewards those who work hard, develop skills and take risks.

But high and growing levels of income inequality are a significant threat to stability both within and across countries. The World Economic Forum’s report, Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015, ranks deepening income inequality as the most significant trend of 2015. According to those surveyed, inequality is closely related to challenges including “poverty, environmental degradation, persistent unemployment, political instability, violence and conflict.”

In addition to the clear human cost of inequality, it’s also a huge waste of economic potential. For example, according to the UN, reducing child deaths by 4.25 per thousand children born (around 5 percent) for mothers with low levels of education can result in an almost 8 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product per capita ten years later