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Growing Unequal ?: Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries (Complete Edition ‐ ISBN 9789264044197)

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Growing Unequal? brings together a range of analyses on the distribution of economic resources in OECD countries. The evidence on income distribution and poverty covers, for the first time, all 30 OECD countries in the mid‐2000s, while information on trends extending back to the mid‐1980s is provided for around two‐thirds of the countries. The report also describes inequalities in a range of domains (such as household wealth, consumption patterns, in‐kind public services) that are typically excluded from conventional discussion about the distribution of economic resources among individuals and households. The report provides evidence of a fairly generalised increase in income inequality over the past two decades across the OECD, but the timing, intensity and causes of the increase differ from what is typically suggested in the media. Precisely how much inequality there is in a society is not determined randomly, nor is it beyond the power of governments to change, so long as they take note of the sort of up‐to‐date evidence included in this report.

This report includes StatLinks, URLs linking tables and graphs in the book to Excel® spreadsheets containing the data.



Chapter 1. The Distribution of Household Income in OECD Countries: What Are Its Main Features?


‐How does the distribution of household income compare across countries?

‐Has the distribution of household income widened over time?

‐Moving beyond summary measure of income distribution: income levels across deciles


‐Annex 1.A1. OECD Data on Income Distribution: Key Measures

‐Annex 1.A2. Additional Tables and Figures


Chapter 2. Changes in Demography and Living Arrangements: Are They Widening the Distribution of Household Income?


‐Cross‐country differences in population structure

‐The influence of population structure on summary measure of income inequality

‐Changes in the relative income of different groups


‐Annex 2.A1. Structure of the population in Selected OECD Countries

Chapter 3. Earnings and Income Inequality: Understanding the Links


‐Main patterns in the distribution of personal earnings among full‐time workers

‐Earnings distribution among all workers: the importance of non‐standard employment

‐From personal to household earnings: which factors come into play?

‐From household earnings to market income


Chapter 4. How Much Redistribution Do Governments Achieve? The Role of Cash Transfers and Household Taxes


‐An accounting framework for household income

‐Targeting and progressivity: how do social programmes and taxes affect income distribution

‐Level and characteristics of public cash transfers and household taxes

‐Redistribution towards those at the bottom of the income ladder: the interplay of size and targeting

‐Improving measures of welfare state outcomes



Chapter 5. Poverty in OECD Countries: An Assessment Based on Static Income


‐Levels and trends in overall income poverty

‐Poverty risks for different population groups

‐The role of household taxes and public cash transfers in reducing income poverty

‐Accounting for changes in poverty rates since the mid‐1990s


‐Annex 5.A1. Low‐income thresholds used in the analysis

‐Annex 5.A2. Alternative estimates of main poverty indicators

Chapter 6. Does Income Poverty Last Over Time?


‐Longitudinal Data and Dynamic Poverty Measures

‐Distinguishing between temporary and persistent spells of poverty

‐The composition of persistent poverty

‐Poverty entries, exits, and occurrences

‐Events that trigger entry into poverty

‐Income mobility and poverty persistence


Chapter 7. Non‐Income Poverty: What Can We Learn From Indicators of Material Deprivation?


‐Material deprivation as one approach to the measurement of poverty

‐Characteristics of material deprivation in a comparative perspective


‐Annex 7.A1. Prevalence of non‐income poverty based on a synthetic measure of multiple deprivations


Chapter 8. Intergenerational Mobility: Does it Offset or Reinforce Income Inequality?


‐Intergenerational transmission of disadvantages: An overview

‐Intergenerational transmission of disadvantages: Does it matter for policies?


Chapter 9. Publicly‐Provided Services: How Do They Change the Distribution of Households' Economic Resources?


‐Findings from previous research

‐New empirical evidence


Chapter 10. How Is Household Wealth Distributed? Evidence from the Luxembourg Wealth Study


‐Household wealth and social policies

‐Basic LWS measures and methodology

‐Basic patterns in the distribution of household wealth

‐Joint patterns of income and wealth inequality



Chapter 11. Inequality in the Distribution of Economic Resources: How It has Changed and What Governments Can Do about It


‐What are the main features of the distribution of household income in OECD countries

‐What factors have been driving changes in the distribution of household income in OECD countries?

‐Can we assess economic inequalities just by looking at cash income?

‐What are the implications of these findings for policies aimed at narrowing poverty and inequalities?

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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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