Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Redistribution Policy and Inequality Reduction in OECD Countries: What Has Changed in Two Decades?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Immervoll, Herwig

    ()
    (OECD, Paris)

  • Richardson, Linda

    ()
    (OECD)

Abstract

We use a range of data sources to assess if, and to what extent, government redistribution policies have slowed or accelerated the trend towards greater income disparities in the past 20-25 years. In most countries, inequality among "non-elderly" households has widened during most phases of the economic cycle and any episodes of narrowing income differentials have usually not lasted long enough to close the gap between high and low incomes that had opened up previously. With progressive redistribution systems in place, greater inequality automatically leads to more redistribution, even if no policy action is taken. We find that, in the context of rising market-income inequality, tax-benefit systems have indeed become more redistributive since the 1980s but that this did not stop income inequality from rising: market-income inequality grew by twice as much as redistribution. Between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, the redistributive strength of tax-benefit systems then weakened in many countries. While growing market-income disparities were the main driver of inequality trends between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, reduced redistribution was often the main reason why inequality rose in the ten years that followed. Benefits had a much stronger impact on inequality than social contributions or taxes, despite the much bigger aggregate size of direct taxes. As a result, redistribution policies were often less successful at counteracting growing income gaps in the upper parts of the income distribution.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp6030.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6030.

as in new window
Length: 90 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6030

Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information:
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:

Related research

Keywords: income inequality; redistribution; working age; OECD;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Paul Gregg, Rosanna Scutella and Jonathan Wadsworth, 2004. "Reconciling Workless Measures at the Individual and Household Level. Theory and Evidence from the United States, Britain, Germany, Spain and Australia," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 04/04, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Apr 2004.
  2. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1980. "A single-parameter generalization of the Gini indices of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-86, February.
  3. Olivier Bargain & Tim Callan, 2007. "Analysing the Effects of Tax-benefit Reforms on Income Distribution: A Decomposition Approach," Working Papers 200728, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  4. Bargain, Olivier & Keane, Claire, 2010. "Tax-Benefit Revealed Redistributive Preferences Over Time: Ireland 1987-2005," IZA Discussion Papers 5221, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "One Dollar, One Vote," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 621-651, 06.
  6. Herwig Immervoll, 2010. "Minimum Income Benefits in OECD Countries: Policy Design, Effectiveness and Challenges," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 100, OECD Publishing.
  7. Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Herwig Immervoll & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2011. "Tax policy and income inequality in the U.S., 1978—2009: A decomposition approach," Working Papers 215, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  8. André Decoster & Guy Van Camp, 2000. "Redistributive Effects of the Shift from Personal Income Taxes to Indirect Taxes: Belgium 1988-1993," Public Economics Working Paper Series ces0007, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
  9. Marja Riihelä & Risto Sullström & Ilpo Suoniemi, 2008. "Tax Progressivity and Recent Evolution of the Finnish Income Inequality," Discussion Papers 460, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  10. Herwig Immervoll & Mark Pearson, 2009. "A Good Time for Making Work Pay? Taking Stock of In-Work Benefits and Related Measures across the OECD," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 81, OECD Publishing.
  11. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1983. "On an Extension of the Gini Inequality Index," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 617-28, October.
  12. McKinley L. Blackburn & David E. Bloom, 1994. "Changes in the Structure of Family Income Inequality in the United States and Other Industrial Nationa During the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 4754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Herwig Immervoll & Pascal Marianna & Marco Mira d'Ercole, 2004. "Benefit Coverage Rates and Household Typologies: Scope and Limitations of Tax-Benefit Indicators," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 20, OECD Publishing.
  14. Herwig Immervoll, 2005. "Falling Up The Stairs: The Effects Of "Bracket Creep" On Household Incomes," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(1), pages 37-62, 03.
  15. Christopher Heady & Theodore Mitrakos & Panos Tsakloglou, 2001. "The distributional impact of social transfers in the European Union: evidence from the ECHP," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 547-565., December.
  16. Stéphane Carcillo & David Grubb, 2006. "From Inactivity to Work: The Role of Active Labour Market Policies," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 36, OECD Publishing.
  17. Stuart Adam & James Browne, 2010. "Redistribution, work incentives and thirty years of UK tax and benefit reform," IFS Working Papers W10/24, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  18. Anna Christina D'Addio & Herwig Immervoll, 2010. "Earnings of Men and Women Working in the Private Sector: Enriched Data for Pensions and Tax-Benefit Modeling," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 108, OECD Publishing.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Michael F. Förster & Gerlinde Verbist, 2012. "Money or Kindergarten? Distributive Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Family Transfers for Young Children," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 135, OECD Publishing.
  2. Ive Marx & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera, 2014. "The Welfare State and Anti-Poverty Policy in Rich Countries," Working Papers 1403, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  3. Giorgio Motta & Patrizio Tirelli, 2012. "Income inequality and macroeconomic stability in a New Keynesian model with limited asset market participation," Working Papers 219, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2012.
  4. Cok, Mitja & Urban, Ivica & Verbič, Miroslav, 2012. "Income redistribution through taxes and social benefits: the case of Slovenia and Croatia," MPRA Paper 38918, University Library of Munich, Germany.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6030. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.