In any population of things (e.g. people, organisations, regions, industries), the poorest performers can be labelled ‘laggards’.

If you run a competition to award the highest performers, then the gap between best and worst increases, and the laggards lag even further behind.

The greater the gap between best and worst, the greater the ‘inequality‘.

A difficult choice confronting decision makers is how to improve the average performance of the population overall while ensuring an ‘acceptable’ amount of inequality.

“Fostering inclusive growth – that is to say,  economic growth that creates opportunities for all population segments and distributes the dividends of increased prosperity fairly across society – is a key policy objective across OECD countries.”

Source: OECD (2017) Making Innovation Benefit All: Policies for Inclusive Growth.

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