1887

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

Labour Market Performance, Income Inequality and Poverty in OECD countries

There have been concerns that employment-enhancing reforms along the lines of the 1994 OECD Jobs Strategy could inadvertently lead to increased income inequality and poverty. This paper focuses on the impact of institutions and redistributive policies on inequality and poverty with the view of assessing whether a trade-off between better labour market performance and equity has taken place in OECD countries, notably in the 1990s. During this period, reductions of unemployment have been associated with rising wage dispersion for workers in most OECD countries. Nevertheless, no clear general trend appears for total disposable income inequality and relative poverty among the total population. These developments suggest that gains from higher employment have in general offset the impact of rising wage dispersion. A preliminary econometric analysis for the period 1978- 2000 fails to detect any robust relationship between labour market institutions/policies and inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient. Please note that annexes are only available on the OECD Economics Department Website at: www.oecd.org/eco/Working_Papers.

English

Keywords: poverty, institutions, income distribution, unemployment, employment
JEL: I38: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs; J38: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy; J68: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: Public Policy; J58: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining / Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining: Public Policy
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