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The Great Recession and the Distribution of Household Income


  • Jenkins, Stephen P.
    (Professor of Economic and Social Policy, London School of Economics)

  • Brandolini, Andrea
    (Economist, Economic Structure and Labour Market Division, Research Department, Bank of Italy)

  • Micklewright, John
    (Professor of Economics and Social Statistics, Institute of Education, University of London)

  • Nolan, Brian
    (Professor of Public Policy, University College Dublin)


The so-called Great Recession that followed the global financial crisis at the end of 2007 was the largest economic downturn since the 1930s for most rich countries. To what extent were household incomes affected by this event, and how did the effects differ across countries? This is the first cross-national study of the impact of the Great Recession on the distribution of household incomes. Looking at real income levels, poverty rates, and income inequality, it focusses on the period 2007-9, but also considers longer-term impacts. Three vital contributions are made. First, the book reviews lessons from the past about the relationships between macroeconomic change and the household income distribution. Second, it considers the experience of 21 rich OECD member countries drawing on a mixture of national accounts, and labour force and household survey data. Third, the book presents case-study evidence for six countries: Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the UK, and the USA. The book shows that, between 2007 and 2009, government support through the tax and benefit system provided a cushion against the downturn, and household income distributions did not change much. But, after 2009, there is likely to be much greater change in incomes as a result of the fiscal consolidation measures that are being put into place to address the structural deficits accompanying the recession. The book's main policy lesson is that stabilisation of the household income distribution in the face of macroeconomic turbulence is an achievable policy goal, at least in the short-term. Contributors to this volume - Stephen P. Jenkins, London School of Economics Andrea Brandolini, Bank of Italy John Micklewright, Institute of Education, University of London Brian Nolan, University College Dublin Francesco D'Amuri, Bank of Italy Gaetano Basso, University of California Davis Anders Bjorklund, Stockholm University Tim Callan, Economic and Social Research Institute Ivan Faiella, Bank of Italy The late Joachim Frick, formerly at DIW Berlin Markus Grabka, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) Berlin Markus Jantti, Stockholm University Robert Joyce, Institute for Fiscal Studies Bernard Maitre, Economic and Social Research Institute Luke Sibieta, Institute for Fiscal Studies Timothy Smeeding, University of Wisconsin-Madison Jeffrey Thompson, Political Economy Research Institute

Suggested Citation

  • Jenkins, Stephen P. & Brandolini, Andrea & Micklewright, John & Nolan, Brian (ed.), 2012. "The Great Recession and the Distribution of Household Income," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199671021.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199671021

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

    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Ahammer & Stefan Kranzinger, 2017. "Poverty in Times of Crisis," Economics working papers 2017-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Maximilian Longmuir & Carsten Schröder & Matteo Targa, 2020. "De-routinization of Jobs and Polarization of Earnings – Evidence from 35 Countries," LIS Working papers 796, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Platt, Jonathan & Prins, Seth & Bates, Lisa & Keyes, Katherine, 2016. "Unequal depression for equal work? How the wage gap explains gendered disparities in mood disorders," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 1-8.
    4. Juan J. Dolado & Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa & Linas Tarasonis, 2019. "The changing nature of gender selection into employment over the Great Recession," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 58, Bank of Lithuania.
    5. Remi Bazillier & Boris Najman, 2017. "Labour and Financial Crises: Is Labour Paying the Price of the Crisis?," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 59(1), pages 55-76, March.
    6. Jaejoon Woo & Elva Bova & Tidiane Kinda & Y. Sophia Zhang, 2017. "Distributional Consequences of Fiscal Adjustments: What Do the Data Say?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(2), pages 273-307, June.
    7. Mark E. McGovern & Slawa Rokicki, 2018. "The Great Recession, Household Income, and Children's Test Scores," CHaRMS Working Papers 18-05, Centre for HeAlth Research at the Management School (CHaRMS).
    8. Coveney, Max & García-Gómez, Pilar & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Van Ourti, Tom, 2020. "Thank goodness for stickiness: Unravelling the evolution of income-related health inequalities before and after the Great Recession in Europe," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    9. András Gábos & Réka Branyiczki & Barbara Lange & György Tóth, 2015. "Employment and poverty dynamics in the EU countries before, during and after the crisis," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/06, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    10. Jehane Simona-Moussa, 2020. "The Subjective Well-Being of Those Vulnerable to Poverty in Switzerland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(5), pages 1561-1580, June.
    11. Mike Brewer & Liam Wren-Lewis, 2016. "Accounting for Changes in Income Inequality: Decomposition Analyses for the UK, 1978–2008," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(3), pages 289-322, June.
    12. Florent Bresson & Jean-Yves Duclos & Flaviana Palmisano, 2019. "Intertemporal pro-poorness," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 52(1), pages 65-96, January.
    13. Max Coveney & Pilar García‐Gómez & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2016. "Health Disparities by Income in Spain Before and After the Economic Crisis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(S2), pages 141-158, November.
    14. Ramon Ballester & Jackeline Velazco & Ricard Rigall-I-Torrent, 2015. "Effects of the Great Recession on Immigrants’ Household Consumption in Spain," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 771-797, September.
    15. Jan O. Jonsson & Carina Mood & Erik Bihagen, 2016. "Poverty trends during two recessions and two recoveries: lessons from Sweden 1991–2013," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-20, December.
    16. Jack Britton & Neil Shephard & Anna Vignoles, 2015. "Comparing sample survey measures of English earnings of graduates with administrative data during the Great Recession," IFS Working Papers W15/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    17. Giuseppe Mastromatteo & Sergio Rossi, 2015. "The economics of deflation in the euro area: a critique of fiscal austerity," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 336-350, July.
    18. Brian Nolan & Max Roser & Stefan Thewissen, 2016. "GDP Per Capita Versus Median Household Income: What Gives Rise to Divergence Over Time?," LIS Working papers 672, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    19. Nicky Rogge, 2017. "Measuring the impact of the economic crisis on the level of change in EU social inclusion: period 2005–2012," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 103-116, April.
    20. Orlando Garcia-Santiago & Konstantinos Zougris, 2016. "Converging Economies of a Diverging Union: A Sub-systemic Analysis of Income Inequalities and Economic Growth across the E.U. Member States," International Journal of Social Science Studies, Redfame publishing, vol. 4(11), pages 1-8, November.
    21. Daoud, Adel & Johansson, Fredrik, 2019. "Estimating Treatment Heterogeneity of International Monetary Fund Programs on Child Poverty with Generalized Random Forest," SocArXiv awfjt, Center for Open Science.
    22. Katie Bates & Laura Lane & Anne Power & Nicola Serle, 2013. "CASE Annual Report 2012," CASE Reports casereport76, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    23. Francesca Carta, 2020. "Timely Indicators for Inequality and Poverty Using the Italian Labour Force Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 149(1), pages 41-65, May.
    24. Max Coveney & Pilar (P.) Garcia-Gomez & Eddy (E.K.A.) van Doorslaer & Tom (T.G.M.) van Ourti, 2018. "Every crisis has a silver lining? Unravelling the pro-cyclical pattern of health inequalities by income," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-066/V, Tinbergen Institute.

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