OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Inequality in Denmark through the Looking Glass

This paper delivers a broad assessment of income inequality in Denmark. As a necessary preamble to provide a basis for discussion, we start by contrasting Danish official inequality measures with those gathered by the OECD in an international context. We show that differences between these two sources are fully explained by differences in methodological choices. We then go beyond synthetic measures of inequality to deliver a granular assessment of income distribution and of the distributional impact of taxes and transfers; and on this basis we compare Denmark to other OECD countries. This approach is then used to quantify the distributional impact of some growth-enhancing reforms undertaken or recommended for Denmark, based on empirical evidence across OECD countries. Finally, we take a forward looking stance by discussing global forces shaping the rise in inequality, in particular skill-biased technological change and deliver a tentative scenario for Denmark in the wider OECD context.


Keywords: structural policies, income distribution, inequality
JEL: D31: Microeconomics / Distribution / Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions; E61: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook / Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination; O15: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration; I23: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Higher Education; Research Institutions
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