Divided We Stand
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Divided We Stand

Why Inequality Keeps Rising

In the three decades to the recent economic downturn, wage gaps widened and household income inequality  as measured by GINI increased in a large majority of OECD countries. This occurred even when countries were going through a period of sustained economic and employment growth. This report analyses the major underlying forces behind these developments. It examines to which extent economic globalisation, skill-biased technological progress and institutional and regulatory reforms have had an impact on the distribution of earnings. The report further provides evidence of how changes in family formation and household structures have altered household earnings and income inequality. And it documents how tax and benefit systems have changed in the ways they redistribute household incomes. The report discusses which policies are most promising to counter increases in inequalities and how the policy mix can be adjusted when public budgets are under strain.

"Analyses rely on simple statistical techniques that are accessible to a large readership... the graphic and charts are of great help to gain a quick visual grasp of the various issues addressed."

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    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8111111e.pdf
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Publication Date :
05 Dec 2011
DOI :
10.1787/9789264119536-en
 
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Foreword You do not have access to this content

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    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/8111111ec001.pdf
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Author(s):
OECD
Pages :
3–4
DOI :
10.1787/9789264119536-1-en

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Concerns of growing income inequality loom large in public debate and policy discussion. Indeed, in most OECD countries and many emerging economies, the gap between rich and poor has widened over the past decades. This occurred even when countries were going through a period of sustained economic growth prior to the Great Recession. Today, the economic crisis is putting additional pressure on the distribution of incomes. Greater inequality raises economic, political and ethical challenges as it risks leaving a growing number of people behind in an ever-changing economy.
Also available in: French