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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Women, work and income inequality

This chapter first presents the trends in inequality between men and women in terms of employment and earnings before discussing the earnings dispersion among male workers and among female workers. The analysis shows that inequality in individual earnings is driven primarily by increased wage dispersion among full-time full-year workers. Looking at the household level, the chapter then presents how changes in work intensity and skill level for women have affected the level of household income inequality. The overall effect of changes in women’s employment has been to make the distribution of income more equal.

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