In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All

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The gap between rich and poor keeps widening. Growth, if any, has disproportionally benefited higher income groups while lower income households have been left behind. This long-run increase in income inequality not only raises social and political concerns, but also economic ones. It tends to drag down GDP growth, due to the rising distance of the lower 40% from the rest of society. Lower income people have been prevented from realising their human capital potential, which is bad for the economy as a whole. This book highlights the key areas where inequalities are created and where new policies are required, including: the consequences of current consolidation policies; structural labour market changes with rising non-standard work and job polarization; persisting gender gaps; the challenge of high wealth concentration, and the role for redistribution policies.

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How does the concentration of household wealth compare across countries?

This chapter describes the distribution of household wealth for 18 OECD countries, using a database collected along a set of commonly agreed conventions and classifications. Both the stocks of household wealth and their degree of concentration are compared across countries. The analysis sheds light on the demographic characteristics of households holding wealth, the composition of their assets, their debt as well as the degree of over-indebtedness among low- and middle-income households. Changes in the wealth distribution since the onset of the crisis are examined for a subset of countries.

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