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Income distribution, economic systems and transition

In: Handbook of Income Distribution

  • Flemming, J.S.
  • Micklewright, John

We consider the differences in income distribution between market and planned economies in two ways. First, using benchmarks from the OECD area we review evidence from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the socialist period. Second, we look at the transitions currently being made by the latter. In each case we review available data and the problems they present before considering in turn: (i) the distribution of earnings of full-time employees; (ii) the distribution of individuals' per capita household incomes; and (iii) the ways in which the picture is altered by nonwage benefits from work, price subsidies and social incomes in kind. For the socialist period we are able to consider long series of data, often covering several decades, and we can thus show the changes in the picture of distribution under the socialist system. We also emphasise the diversity across the countries concerned. For the period of transition, itself incomplete, the series are inevitably shorter but we are able to avoid basing conclusions on evidence drawn from single years. The picture during transition, like that under socialism, is varied. Russia has experienced very sharp increases in measured inequality to well above the top of the OECD range. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have seen more modest rises. We note the lack of a satisfactory analytic framework in the literature that encompasses enough features of the transition, a framework which would help interpretation of the evidence.

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This chapter was published in:
  • A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), 2000. "Handbook of Income Distribution," Handbook of Income Distribution, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, 00.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Income Distribution with number 1-14.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:incchp:1-14
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

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    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.:

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    1. Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1996. "Transition as a process of large-scale institutional change," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, 05.
    2. Raymond J. Struyk & Jennifer Daniell, 1995. "Housing privatization in urban Russia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(2), pages 197-214, 06.
    3. Jan Rutkowski, 1996. "High skills pay off: the changing wage structure during economic transition in Poland," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 4(1), pages 89-112, 05.
    4. Peter Galasi, 1998. "Income Inequality and Mobility in Hungary 1992-96," Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series iopeps98/3, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
    5. Robert M. Buckley & Eugene N. Gurenko, 1998. "Housing demand in Russia: Rationing and reform," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 6(1), pages 197-209, 05.
    6. Knight, John B & Song, Lina, 1991. "The Determinants of Urban Income Inequality in China," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(2), pages 123-54, May.
    7. Jiri Vecerník, 1995. "Changing earnings distribution in the Czech republic: survey evidence from 1988-1994," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(3), pages 355-371, 09.
    8. Andrew Newell & Mieczyslaw Socha, 1998. "Wages distribution in Poland: The roles of privatization and international trade, 1992-96," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 6(1), pages 47-65, 05.
    9. Marguerite Perrot & Françoise Bourit & Patrice Hernu, 1983. "Les salaires en 1982," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 154(1), pages 17-32.
    10. Simon Commander & Andrei Tolstopiantenko & Ruslan Yemtsov, 1997. "Channels of Redistribution: Inequality and Poverty in the Russian Transition," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 42, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    11. Stephen Pudney, 1995. "Income distribution and the reform of public housing in Hungary," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(1), pages 75-106, 03.
    12. Alexeev, Michael, 1988. "The effect of housing allocation on social inequality: A soviet perspective," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 228-234, June.
    13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521584036 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Pudney, Stephen, 1994. " Earnings Inequality in Hungary: A Comparative Analysis of Household and Enterprise Survey Data," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 251-76.
    15. Stephen Pudney, 1994. "Earnings inequality in Hungary since 1988 1," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 2(1), pages 101-106, 03.
    16. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521395311 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    18. Doyle, Chris, 1996. "The Distributional Consequences during the Early Stages of Russia's Transition," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(4), pages 493-505, December.
    19. Thesia I. Garner & Katherine Terrell, 1998. "A Gini decomposition analysis of inequality in the Czech and Slovak Republics during the transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 6(1), pages 23-46, 05.
    20. Bergson, Abram, 1984. "Income Inequality under Soviet Socialism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 1052-99, September.
    21. Newell, Andrew & Reilly, Barry, 1996. "The gender wage gap in Russia: Some empirical evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 337-356, October.
    22. Mathias Dewatripont, 1992. "Economic Reform and Dynamic Political Constraints," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/175991, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    23. Simon Commander & Mark Schankerman, 1997. "Enterprise restructuring and social benefits," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, 05.
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