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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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How is Household Wealth Distributed? Evidence from the Luxembourg Wealth Study

There are significant cross-country differences in both levels and distribution of household wealth compared that of income, which partly depend on the definition of wealth and on the measures used to summarise its distribution. Many of those who are classified as income poor do have some assets, although the “median” poor has negligible financial assets in all countries covered. Disposable income and net worth are positively correlated across individuals, and this association holds even after controlling for personal characteristics such as age and education.

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