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Income distribution, economic systems and transition

In: Handbook of Income Distribution

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  • Flemming, J.S.
  • Micklewright, John

Abstract

We consider the differences in income distribution between market and planned economies in two ways. First, using benchmarks from the OECD area we review evidence from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the socialist period. Second, we look at the transitions currently being made by the latter. In each case we review available data and the problems they present before considering in turn: (i) the distribution of earnings of full-time employees; (ii) the distribution of individuals' per capita household incomes; and (iii) the ways in which the picture is altered by nonwage benefits from work, price subsidies and social incomes in kind. For the socialist period we are able to consider long series of data, often covering several decades, and we can thus show the changes in the picture of distribution under the socialist system. We also emphasise the diversity across the countries concerned. For the period of transition, itself incomplete, the series are inevitably shorter but we are able to avoid basing conclusions on evidence drawn from single years. The picture during transition, like that under socialism, is varied. Russia has experienced very sharp increases in measured inequality to well above the top of the OECD range. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have seen more modest rises. We note the lack of a satisfactory analytic framework in the literature that encompasses enough features of the transition, a framework which would help interpretation of the evidence.

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This chapter was published in:

  • A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), 2000. "Handbook of Income Distribution," Handbook of Income Distribution, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, 00.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Income Distribution with number 1-14.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:incchp:1-14

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    1. Redor,Dominique, 1992. "Wage Inequalities in East and West," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521395311, October.
    2. Knight, J. & Lina, S., 1990. "The Determinants Of Urban Income Inequality In China," Economics Series Working Papers 9991, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1997. "Transition as a process of large-scale institutional change," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9659, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    7. Garner, Thesia I & Terrell, Katherine, 1998. "A Gini Decomposition Analysis of Inequality in the Czech and Slovak Republics during the Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 1897, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Jiri Vecerník, 1995. "Changing earnings distribution in the Czech republic: survey evidence from 1988-1994," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(3), pages 355-371, 09.
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    12. Doyle, Chris, 1996. "The Distributional Consequences during the Early Stages of Russia's Transition," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(4), pages 493-505, December.
    13. Andrew Newell & Mieczyslaw Socha, 1998. "Wages distribution in Poland: The roles of privatization and international trade, 1992-96," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 6(1), pages 47-65, 05.
    14. Alexeev, Michael, 1988. "The effect of housing allocation on social inequality: A soviet perspective," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 228-234, June.
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    17. Newell, Andrew & Reilly, Barry, 1996. "The gender wage gap in Russia: Some empirical evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 337-356, October.
    18. Robert M. Buckley & Eugene N. Gurenko, 1998. "Housing demand in Russia: Rationing and reform," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 6(1), pages 197-209, 05.
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