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This paper places what has happened to income inequality in rich countries over recent decades alongside trends in median and low incomes in real terms, taken as…
This paper places what has happened to income inequality in rich countries over recent decades alongside trends in median and low incomes in real terms, taken as incomplete but valuable indicators of the evolution of living standards for “ordinary working families” and the poor. The findings demonstrate first just how varied country experiences have been, with some much more successful than others in generating rising real incomes around the middle and toward the bottom of the distribution. This variation is seen to be only modestly related to the extent to which income inequality rose, which itself is more varied across the rich countries than is often appreciated. The extent to which economic growth is transmitted to the middle and lower parts of the distribution is seen to depend on a range of factors of which inequality is only one. Sources of real income growth around the middle have also varied across countries, though transfers are consistently key toward the bottom. The diversity of rich country experiences should serve as an important corrective to a now-common “grand narrative” about inequality and stagnation based on the experience of the USA.
An important aspect of the impact of the economic crisis is how pay in the public sector responds – in the face not only of the evolution of pay in the private sector but…
An important aspect of the impact of the economic crisis is how pay in the public sector responds – in the face not only of the evolution of pay in the private sector but also extreme pressure on public spending (of which pay is a very large proportion) as fiscal deficits soar. What are the effects on the income distribution of cutting public sector pay rates or alternative strategies to reduce the public sector pay bill? This chapter investigates these issues using data and a tax–benefit simulation model for Ireland, a country which faces a particularly severe fiscal crisis and where innovative measures have already been implemented to claw back pay from public sector workers in the guise of a ‘pension levy’, followed by a significant cut in nominal pay rates. The SWITCH (Simulating Welfare and Income Tax Changes) tax–benefit model first allows the distributional effects of these measures, which achieved a substantial reduction in the net public sector pay bill, to be teased out. The overall impact on the income distribution is assessed. This provides empirical evidence relevant to policy choices in relation to a key aspect of household income over which governments have direct influence, while at the same time illustrating methodologically how a tax–benefit model can serve as the base for such investigation.
Focuses on the approach to interpreting earnings equality found in the writings of a variety of economists and in particular, technological change and its effects on the…
Focuses on the approach to interpreting earnings equality found in the writings of a variety of economists and in particular, technological change and its effects on the demand skill resulting in earning inequality. Argues that the evidence in favour of the technological effect is weak and presents some alternatives for further consideration.
Immigrant and native child poverty in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden 1993–2001 is studied using large sets of panel data. While native children face yearly poverty risks of…
Immigrant and native child poverty in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden 1993–2001 is studied using large sets of panel data. While native children face yearly poverty risks of less than 10 percent in all three countries and for all years studied the increasing proportion of immigrant children with an origin in middle- and low-income countries have poverty risks that vary from 38 up to as much as 58 percent. At the end of the observation period, one third of the poor children in Norway and as high as about a half in Denmark and in Sweden are of immigrant origin. The strong overrepresentation of immigrant children from low- and middle-income countries when measured in yearly data is also found when applying a longer accounting period for poverty measurement. We find that child poverty rates are generally high shortly after arrival to the new country and typically decrease with years since immigration. Multivariate analysis shows that parents years since immigration and education affect risks of the number of periods in persistent poverty. While a native child is very unlikely to spend nine years in poverty, the corresponding risk for a child to a newly arrived immigrant was found to be far from negligible. Much of the pattern is similar across the three countries but there are also some notable differences.
Macroeconomic shocks such as the recent global economic crisis can have far-reaching effects on the levels and the distribution of resources at the individual and the household levels. A recession associated with a labor market downturn and turbulent property and financial markets gives rise to significant and widespread losses for workers and households. Identifying the likely pattern of losses is, however, not straightforward. This is especially the case at the outset of a severe recession, when up-to-date information about current household circumstances is patchy, and economic conditions are subject to rapid change.
This chapter assesses the extent to which historical levels of inequality affect the creation and survival of businesses over time. To this end, we use the Global…
This chapter assesses the extent to which historical levels of inequality affect the creation and survival of businesses over time. To this end, we use the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey across 66 countries over 2005–2011. We complement this survey with data on income inequality dating back to early 1800s and current institutional environment, such as the number of procedures to start a new business, countries’ degree of financial inclusion, corruption and political stability. We find that, although inequality increases the number of firms created out of need, inequality reduces entrepreneurial activity as in net terms businesses are less likely to be created and survive over time. These findings are robust in using different measures of inequality across different points in time and regions, even if excluding Latin America, the most unequal region in the world. Our evidence then supports theories that argue early conditions, crucially inequality, influence development path.