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Income distribution and income sources in Uruguay



This paper is concerned with changes in the distribution of income sources in Uruguay after the late eighties. An apparent stability in the distribution of total incomes is hiding deep transformations affecting the generation of that income. The distribution across all income earners at the end of the eighties exhibited two well-distinguished poles, each associated with one of the main income sources: pension benefits and wages. This bimodality diminished during the nineties due to the reduction in polarization by income sources. In the same period we find that in the case of labor earnings there was a net transfer of population mass from the middle of the distribution to both extremes, which results in an increasing polarization within this income source. This phenomenon resembles the Anglo-Saxon experience of the shrinking middle class.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Gradín & Máximo Rossi, 2006. "Income distribution and income sources in Uruguay," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 9, pages 49-69, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:9:y:2006:n:1:p:49-69

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joan Esteban & Carlos Gradin & Debraj Ray, 1999. "Extensions of a Measure of Polarization with an Application to the Income Distribution of Five OECD Countries," LIS Working papers 218, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    2. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-363.
    3. Marisa Bucheli & Máximo Rossi, 1994. "Distribución del ingreso en el Uruguay (1984-1992)," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1094, Department of Economics - dECON.
    4. Daniel Miles & Máximo Rossi, 1999. "Geographic concentration and structure of wages in developing countries: the case of Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1399, Department of Economics - dECON.
    5. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    6. Yitzhaki, Shlomo & Lerman, Robert I, 1991. "Income Stratification and Income Inequality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(3), pages 313-329, September.
    7. Wolfson, Michael C, 1994. "When Inequalities Diverge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 353-358, May.
    8. X. Zhang & R. Kanbur, 2001. "What Difference Do Polarisation Measures Make? An Application to China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 85-98.
    9. Wolfson, Michael C, 1997. "Divergent Inequalities: Theory and Empirical Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(4), pages 401-421, December.
    10. Chakravarty, Satya R & Majumder, Amita, 2001. "Inequality, Polarisation and Welfare: Theory and Applications," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, March.
    11. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1994. "Economic distance and overlapping of distributions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 147-159, March.
    12. D'Ambrosio, Conchita, 2001. "Household Characteristics and the Distribution of Income in Italy: An Application of Social Distance Measures," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(1), pages 43-64, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michal Brzezinski, 2013. "Income Polarization and Economic Growth," LIS Working papers 587, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    2. Yoonseok Lee & Donggyun Shin, 2013. "Measuring Social Unrest Based on Income Distribution," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 160, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    3. Joon-Woo Nahm, 2008. "Shrinking Middle Class and Changing Income Distribution of Korea: 1995-2005," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 24, pages 345-365.

    More about this item


    income sources; inequality; labor market; pension benefits; polarization;

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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