University Professor to investigate if UK debt levels benefit the wealthy after winning Leverhulme grant

Thursday 23 November 2023

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Coventry University’s Professor Glauco De Vita has successfully secured a prestigious funding grant to investigate whether higher levels of UK public and household debt are leading to increased wealth inequality.

Wealth inequality refers to the unequal distribution of assets such as money and property in an economy or a group of people.

Glauco was awarded a research project grant from The Leverhulme Trust, a national organisation that provides funding to those undertaking innovative and original research in subjects relating to injustices.

The 2022 World Inequality Report revealed that the richest 10 % of the world population now owns 76% of all wealth and Glauco’s research aims to encourage Governments to create a more equal and sustainable future by trying to drive change in current policies.


Rising debt levels and the widening of the uneven distribution of wealth are arguably two of the most concerning societal, political and economic issues in many economies of the West. In the UK these trends are particularly evident, yet little is known on how public and household debt affect the top wealth shares of the wealth distribution.  

This research will be the first to investigate empirically whether rising levels of UK public and household debt benefit the wealthy and thus widen the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.

Glauco De Vita

With increased pressure on Governments to reduce inequality while supporting people through the cost-of-living crisis, Glauco believes that the research is now more important than ever.


The study will be of significance beyond academia, with important implications for policymakers in the UK and internationally. Wealth inequality is not a phenomenon that can be left to fate or as a casual by-product of existing economic conditions, it can be reversed through policies and reforms. The same can be said about growing public debt.

Glauco De Vita

Glauco is a Professor of International Business Economics within the university’s Centre for Business in Society. As a Cambridge university alumnus, his previous research interests include foreign direct investment, exchange rates, and outsourcing/offshoring.

Find out more about The Centre for Business in Society and Glauco’s research.