August 1, 2006
US Behind Europe in Employment for Disadvantaged, Income Mobility, Health, and Crime
For Immediate Release: August 1, 2006
Contact: Lynn Erskine, 202-293-5380 x115
Washington, DC: The United
States is performing poorly in two areas typically associated with
American economic superiority - employment rates for disadvantaged
populations and income mobility - according to a report by the Center
for Economic and Policy Research.
"Is the U.S. a Good Model for Reducing Social Exclusion in Europe?,"
by economist John Schmitt and researcher Ben Zipperer, found that the
United States fares worse than Europe on a range of social and economic
indicators, including most measures of poverty, health, education and
The study reviewed data on economic and social
measures to assess how well the U.S. has leveraged its vaunted dynamism
to improve American living standards. It found that the U.S. is the
most unequal of the major OECD countries, with a higher Gini
coefficient, lower relative incomes among poor households and a bigger
gap between rich and poor. The report notes that:
- The U.S. has a smaller share of low-income
workers that make it to higher income levels than any other OECD
country. This contradicts the widespread belief that American workers
have a much greater chance of getting ahead than do European workers.
U.S. spends more than any other OECD country on health care, yet has
worse health outcomes (e.g., life expectancy, infant mortality,
obesity). Also, the U.S. is the only developed country in the world
that does not provide universal health-care.
U.S. has the highest murder rate of any advanced country analyzed in
the report and a prison-population rate 5 to 10 times higher than
- The U.S. has lower
adult employment rates than many advanced welfare states, including
Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
"The U.S. economic and social model generates high
levels of income inequality, high poverty rates, and poor and unequal
educational outcomes. It's not a good answer to Europe's problems,"
What is "social exclusion"?
Social exclusion occurs when people suffer from a combination of
problems such as low income, poor health, high crime, unemployment and
family upheaval. It is a common term in European debates on social
To read the report, click here.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research is an independent,
nonpartisan think tank that promotes democratic debate on the most
important economic and social issues affecting people's lives. CEPR's
Advisory Board of Economists includes Nobel Laureate economists Robert
Solow and Joseph Stiglitz; Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics at
Harvard University; and Eileen Appelbaum, Professor and Director of the
Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University.