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Income Inequality and Income Mobility in the Scandinavian Countries Compared to the United States

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This paper compares income inequality and income mobility in the Scandinavian countries and the United States during 1980–90. The results suggest that inequality is greater in the United States than in the Scandinavian countries and that this inequality ranking of countries remains unchanged when the accounting period of income is extended from one to eleven years. The pattern of mobility turns out to be remarkably similar, in the sense that the proportionate reduction in inequality from extending the accounting period of income is much the same. But we do find evidence of greater dispersion of first differences of relative earnings and income in the United States. Relative income changes are associated with changes in labor market and marital status in all four countries, but the magnitude of such changes are largest in the United States.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Statistics Norway, 2: Stockholm University, 3: Åbo Akademi University, 4: Stockholm School of Economics, 5: Århus University, 6: Århus School of Business

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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