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Growing Unequal?

Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries

image of Growing Unequal?
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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The Distribution of Household Income in OECD Countries

What Are its Main Features?

Income inequality has increased moderately but significantly over the past two decades, although with differences in the timing, intensity and even direction of these changes across countries. The wide cross-country differences in the overall shape of the income distribution at a point in time imply similarly large differences in income levels for people at similar points of the distribution – with some of the OECD countries topping the OECD league at one end of the distribution falling further behind when considering the other end.

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