Denmark ranked among the five EU countries where economic inequality has grown the most between 2008 and 2012. According to analysis by centre-left think-tank Cevea, the real wages of the poorest of the poor experienced a real wage decline of just over 1,000 kroner while the wealthiest got a wage increase of nearly 14,000 kroner.
“It is very clear that the cost of the economic crisis has been passed on to those Danes who already have the least,” Cevea head Kristian Weise told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
Only Spain, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia have experienced greater economic inequality than Denmark.
An economist for the liberal think-tank Cepos said that although there has been a growth in economic inequality in Denmark, the Cevea results and comparisons are unfair.
“I think it's a skewed comparison,” economist Mads Lundby Hansen told Jyllands-Posten. “Among OECD countries, we have a very low level of inequality.”
Gap increased during crisis
The gap between rich and poor grew during the economic crisis, but Cevea’s analysis shows that the gap between rich and poor has been growing since 2003.
Income inequality has grown since the current government led by PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S) came into power. Hansen said that is a “necessary evil” based on reforms put in place by the government.
“Many reforms to boost growth and employment have the side-effect that they increase inequality,” said Hansen. “That has to be accepted because the country needs jobs and growth.”
Weise finds the inequality harder to accept and said that it harms the weakest in society.
“I do not think it has dawned on many politicians or the general public how lopsided development has been in Denmark for the past ten years,” said Weise. “We need to ask ourselves if this is the kind of development we want.”