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Richard G. Wilkinson

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Title: Richard G. Wilkinson  
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Subject: Bristol Festival of Ideas, Richard Wilkinson, Oliver James (psychologist), Kate Pickett, Population Health Forum
Collection: 1943 Births, Academics of the University of Nottingham, English Academics, Living People
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Richard G. Wilkinson

Richard G. Wilkinson
Wilkinson in 2005
Born 1943 (age 72–73)
Fields Social epidemiology
Economic inequality
Institutions University of Nottingham
University College London
University of York
University of Sussex
Alma mater London School of Economics
University of Pennsylvania
University of Nottingham
Known for The Spirit Level

Richard Gerald Wilkinson (born 1943) is a British social epidemiologist, author and advocate. He is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, having retired in 2008. He is also Honorary Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London[1] and Visiting Professor at University of York. In 2009, Richard co-founded The Equality Trust. Richard was awarded a 2013 Silver Rose Award from Solidar for championing equality and the 2014 Charles Cully Memorial Medal by the Irish Cancer Society.

He is best known for his book with Kate Pickett The Spirit Level, first published in 2009, which argues that societies with more equal distribution of incomes have better health, fewer social problems such as violence, drug abuse, teenage births, mental illness, obesity, and others, and are more cohesive than ones in which the gap between the rich and poor is greater.


  • Background 1
  • Career 2
  • Publications 3
  • Personal 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Richard Wilkinson was educated at Leighton Park School and Reading Technical College.[2] He studied economic history at the London School of Economics. He then earned a Masters at the University of Pennsylvania.[2] His University of Nottingham Masters of Medical Science thesis was "Socio-economic Factors in Mortality Differentials" (1976).[3]


Wilkinson's first book, Poverty and Progress was published by Methuen in 1973. He was a research student on a Health Education Council fellowship at the Department of Community Health, University of Nottingham and spent a year on a large-scale computer analysis of the possible causes of different health outcomes and social strata.[4]

On 16 December 1976, his article entitled 'Dear David Ennals'[4] was published in New Society; at that time, David Ennals was Secretary of State for Social Services. The article led eventually to the 1980 publication of the Black Report on Inequalities in Health. He was also Senior Research Fellow at the Trafford Centre for Medical Research of the University of Sussex in 2001.[5]

Wilkinson retired from his post as a professor of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham in 2008. He was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor. He is also Honorary Professor at University College London. In 2009 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett founded the Equality Trust, which seeks to explain the benefits of a more equal society and campaigns for greater income equality.[6]



  • Wilkinson, Richard G. (1973). Poverty and progress: an ecological model of economic development. London: Methuen.  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G. (1986). Class and health: research and longitudinal data. London New York: Tavistock Publications.  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.; Quick, Allison (1991). Income and health. London:  
Introduction Chapter 1: The evidence Chapter 2: Inequalities in health Chapter 3: How income affects health Chapter 4: Public health policies for the future Chapter 5: Reforming social security Chapter 6: Reforming taxation Endnote Associated conference, November 1992
  • Wilkinson, Richard G. (1994). Unfair shares: the effects of widening income differences on the welfare of the young. Ilford:  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.; Blane, David; Brunner, Eric (1996). Health and social organization: towards a health policy for the twenty-first century. London New York: Routledge.  
  • Wilkinson, Richard (1996). Unhealthy societies: the afflictions of inequality. London New York: Routledge.  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.; Kawachi, Ichirō; Kennedy, Bruce P. (1999). The society and population health reader (volume 1). New York: New Press Distributed by W.W. Norton.  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.;  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G. (2001). Mind the gap: hierarchies, health and human evolution. Darwinism Today. New Haven: Yale University Press.  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.;  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G. (2005). The impact of inequality: how to make sick societies healthier. London: Routledge.  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.; Four volume set.  
volume 1. Health inequalities: the evidence
volume 2. Health inequalities: causes and pathways
volume 3. Health inequalities : interventions and evaluations
volume 4. The political, social and biological ecology of health
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.;  

Articles and papers

  • Wilkinson, Richard G. (1984). Health, economic structure and social indicators. London: Discussion paper 17.  
  • Wilkinson, Richard G.;  


  • Further journal articles listed and some downloadable at Scientific Commons
  • Some further titles are listed here.
  • : "Inequality: The obstacle between us"2008 Eve Saville Memorial Lecture, at the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London School of Law.
  • Appearance in 2011 documentary, "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" on YouTube


Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, the authors of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, are a couple.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Iris Message". Retrieved 2015-08-19. 
  2. ^ a b Dustjacket of his book Poverty and Progress (1973) gives a brief career summary.
  3. ^ Thesis is listed in the catalogue of the library of the University of Nottingham.
  4. ^ a b Wilkinson, Richard (16 December 1976), "Dear David Ennals", New Society 
  5. ^ Richard G. Wilkinson (2001-07-11). "Mind the Gap - Wilkinson, Richard G. - Yale University Press". Retrieved 2015-08-19. 
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Analysis, The Spirit Level: the theory of everything?". 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2015-08-19. 
  8. ^ "Analysis : The Spirit Level : The Theory of Everything?" (TXT). Retrieved 2015-08-19. 

External links

  • The Equality Trust
  • Wilkinson's contributions at The Guardian
  • BBC article on the Equality Trust
  • TED 2011 video: How economic inequality harms societies (16:54)
  • Wilkinson's talks for the Socialist Health Association
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