Questions relating to social inequality have received increased attention in recent years. Some see recent political events such as the BREXIT, the US presidential elections and the strengthening of the AFD as a consequence of increasing economic inequalities and a lack of functioning democratic institutions to counter them. Thomas Piketty’s bestseller has also sharpened awareness of inequality. Based on a historical analysis of tax data, Piketty developed the argument that capitalism has a tendency towards increasing inequality. Piketty’s historical research has been underpinned not least by the fact that an increase in income inequality has been observed in recent decades, particularly in the Anglo-American region. This is often seen in connection with technological change, which leads to drastic economic and social changes. But does this inevitably increase inequality? Social science research can contribute to an understanding of these current social developments by showing to what extent inequalities exist, how they change, and which factors play a role in change.

The project makes an important contribution to creating basic knowledge for answering these questions. Building on the work of the SNSF project “Inequality of income and wealth in Switzerland” (-> to the old website in the archive), the project works by linking cantonal tax data with other administrative and survey data. In this way we have created a new basis for the study of economic inequality in Switzerland, which addresses the shortcomings of previous approaches and opens up new possibilities.

SNSF project 178973