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This Research Report forms part of our series on global societal trends and their impact on the EU in 2030. This analysis is embedded within the framework of the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) set up to develop a lasting framework to assess global trends and to develop policy responses across EU institutions over the next institutional cycle (2014–2019). The first phase of the project assessed the long-term, international, domestic, economic and political trends facing the European Union over the next two decades; the second phase of the project split trends into three streams, namely the economy, governance and power, and society. RAND Europe's assessment of likely global societal trends constituted 'Trend Report 2 — Society' for this second phase.

This report presents the evidence base, uncertainties and potential trajectories surrounding trends in one of the six major themes which form part of Trend Report 2 — Society, namely the rise of a global middle class. The report analyses the rise of a middle class beyond national boundaries, as well as issues of inequality. It notes that while inequality between countries is decreasing, within-country inequality is on the rise. The report also examines the extent to which this global middle class shares the same values.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Decreasing inequality between countries and the associated rise of the new global middle class

  • Chapter Two

    Inequality within countries is increasing

  • Chapter Three

    Future uncertainties: the relationship between within-country inequality and global middle-class growth

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the Bureau of European Policy Advisers, BEPA and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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