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The widening gap between America's wealthiest and its middle and lower classes is "unsustainable," but is unlikely to improve any time soon, according to a Harvard Business School study released on Monday.
The study, titled "An Economy Doing Half its Job," said Americancompanies—particularly big ones—were showing some signs ofrecovering their competitive edge on the world stage since the financial crisis, but that workers would likely keep struggling to demand better pay and benefits.
"We argue that such a divergence is unsustainable," according to thereport, which was based on a survey of 1,947 of Harvard Business Schoolalumni around the globe, and which highlighted problems with the U.S.education system, transport infrastructure, and the effectiveness of the political system.
Some 47 percent of respondents in the survey said that over the nextthree years they expected U.S. companies to be both less competitiveinternationally and less able to pay higher wages and benefits, versus 33 percent who thought the opposite.
The results marked an improvement from a 2012 Harvard Business School survey of its alumni showing 58 percent of respondents expecting a decline in U.S. competitiveness, according to the survey.
Read MoreWealth gap widened over past decade
But Harvard wrote, respondents of the 2014 survey "were much morehopeful about the future competitive success of America's firms than they were about the future pay of America's workers."
Harvard called on corporate leaders to help solve America's wealth gap by working to buttress the kindergarten-to-12th-grade education system, skills-training programs, and transportation infrastructure, among other things.