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Income Distribution in Europe and the United States

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  • Atkinson, A B

Abstract

This paper assembles empirical evidence about the personal distribution of income in Europe and the United States. It presents data for the distribution in the 1980s, and shows that the US had distinctly higher inequality, largely arising at the bottom of the scale. Within Western Europe, the Scandinavian countries, Benelux and West Germany have less inequality; southern Europe and Ireland have higher inequality. The differences in the distribution between the US and Europe on be sufficient to outweigh differences in average incomes. Treating the European Union as an entity does not indicate that the difference can be explained simply by scale: prototype estimates indicate that the EU is less unequal than the US. The origin of the difference between the US and Europe appears to have been a period of fall ins inequality in the 1970s. The picture changed in the 1980s, and in the UK and Sweden income inequality rose at a more rapid rate than in the US. Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Atkinson, A B, 1996. "Income Distribution in Europe and the United States," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 15-28, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:12:y:1996:i:1:p:15-28
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    Cited by:

    1. Jędrzejczak Alina, 2015. "Regional Income Inequalities In Poland And Italy / Rozkład Nierówności Według Regionów w Polsce i We Włoszech," Comparative Economic Research, Sciendo, vol. 18(4), pages 27-45, December.
    2. Enrico Bolzani & Ramses H. Abul Naga, 2002. "La Distribution des Salaires en Suisse: Quelques Observations sur la Récession des Années 90," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 138(II), pages 115-136, June.
    3. Beblo, Miriam & Knaus, Thomas, 2000. "Measuring Income Inequality in Euroland," IRISS Working Paper Series 2000-10, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    4. Tim Goedemé & Lorena Zardo Trindade & Frank Vandenbroucke, 2017. "A Pan-European Perspective on Low-Income Dynamics in the EU," Working Papers 1703, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    5. Croci Angelini, Elisabetta & D'Ambrosio, Conchita & Farina, Francesco, 2002. "Do Preferences in EU Member-States Support Fiscal Federalism?," IRISS Working Paper Series 2002-01, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    6. David Jesuit & Douglas Roscoe & Vincent Mahler, 1997. "Exploring the Impact of Trade and Investment on Income Inequality: A Cross-National Sectoral Analysis of the Developed Market Economy Countries," LIS Working papers 159, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    7. Annamaria Simonazzi & Paola Villa, 1999. "Flexibility and Growth," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 281-311.
    8. John Weeks, 2005. "Inequality Trends in Some Developed OECD Countries," Working Papers 6, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    9. repec:wfo:wstudy:60727 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Dumont, Michel, 2004. "The Impact of International Trade with Newly Industrialised Countries on the Wages and Employment of Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Workers in the European Union," MPRA Paper 83525, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Klein, Emilio & Tokman, Víctor E., 2000. "Social stratification under tension in a globalized era," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
    12. Magne Mogstad, 2007. "Measuring Income Inequality under Restricted Interpersonal Comparability," Discussion Papers 498, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    13. Andrea Brandolini, 2006. "Measurement of Income Distribution in Supranational Entities: The Case of the European Union," LIS Working papers 452, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

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