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Growing Unequal?

Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries

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Growing Unequal? brings together a range of analyses on the distribution of economic resources in OECD countries. The evidence on income distribution and poverty covers, for the first time, all 30 OECD countries in the mid-2000s, while information on trends extending back to the mid-1980s is provided for around two-thirds of the countries. The report also describes inequalities in a range of domains (such as household wealth, consumption patterns, in-kind public services) that are typically excluded from conventional discussion about the distribution of economic resources among individuals and households. The report provides evidence of a fairly generalised increase in income inequality over the past two decades across the OECD, but the timing, intensity and causes of the increase differ from what is typically suggested in the media. Precisely how much inequality there is in a society is not determined randomly, nor is it beyond the power of governments to change, so long as they take note of the sort of up-to-date evidence included in this report.

This report includes StatLinks, URLs linking tables and graphs in the book to Excel® spreadsheets containing the data.

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Does Income Poverty Last Over Time? Evidence from Longitudinal Data

Less than one third of people with income of less than half of median income are persistently in that condition over a three-year period, but only a small share of them move into higher strata of the distribution. Entries into poverty mainly reflect family- and job-related events, but the share of unidentified events is also important. Countries with higher poverty headcounts based on static income measures also record higher rates of persistent and recurrent poverty.

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