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Long Run Trends in Income Inequality in the United States, UK, Sweden, Germany and Canada: A Birth Cohort View

  • Lars Osberg

    ()

    (Economics Department, Dalhousie University)

This paper examines the level and distribution of equivalent after tax, after transfer money income in Canada, the United States, the UK, Germany and Sweden using micro-data from the Luxembourg Income Study from 1969/70 to 1994/95. It concentrates on inequality within and between birth cohorts. At any point in time, less than 11% of aggregate income inequality is due to intergenerational inequality. Although median income growth of different birth cohorts over the period has varied widely across countries, there has been a general trend to greater income inequality within cohorts since 1980. The five countries studied differ in the trends observed in aggregate income, poverty, polarization and income inequality. In the United States and the UK, the incomes of the top decile of each cohort have risen dramatically, but the incomes of the bottom quintile have stagnated. In Canada and Sweden both the top and bottom deciles of each cohort have experienced similar trends. Germany is an intermediate case.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume29/V29N1P121_141.pdf
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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 29 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 121-141

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:29:y:2003:i:1:p:121-141
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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  2. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Equivalence Scale Relativities and the Extent of Inequality and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1067-82, September.
  3. Paolo Figini, 1998. "Inequality Measures, Equivalence Scales and Adjustment for Household Size and Composition," Economics Technical Papers 988, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  4. Jenkins, S., 1988. "The Measurement Of Economic Inequality," Papers 170, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  5. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2000. "Cohort patterns in Canadian earnings: assessing the role of skill premia in inequality trends," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 907-936, November.
  6. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Smeeding, Timothy M. & Merz, Joachim, 1994. "Relative Inequality and Poverty in Germany and the United States Using Alternative Equivalence Scales," MPRA Paper 16295, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
  8. Lars Osberg, 1998. "Economic Insecurity," Discussion Papers 0088, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  9. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2002. "International Comparisons of Trends in Economic Well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 349-382, June.
  10. Garner, T.I. & Phipps, S., 1993. "Are Equivalence Scales the Same for the United States and Canada?," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive 93-02, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
  11. Osberg, Lars & Phipps, Shelley, 1993. "Labour Supply with Quantity Constraints: Estimates from a Large Sample of Canadian Workers," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(2), pages 269-91, April.
  12. Lars Osberg & Kuan Xu, 1999. "Poverty Intensity: How Well Do Canadian Provinces Compare?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 25(2), pages 179-195, June.
  13. Doiron, Denise J & Barrett, Garry F, 1996. "Inequality in Male and Female Earnings: The Role of Hours and Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(3), pages 410-20, August.
  14. Shelley A. Phipps & Peter S. Burton, 1995. "Sharing within Families: Implications for the Measurement of Poverty among Individuals in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(1), pages 177-204, February.
  15. Burbidge, John B & Magee, Lonnie & Robb, A Leslie, 1997. "Canadian Wage Inequality over the Last Two Decades," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 181-203.
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