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World changes in inequality: an overview of facts, causes, consequences and policies

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  • François Bourguignon

Abstract

This paper reviews various issues linked to the rise of inequality observed particularly in developed countries over the last quarter century. Various data on the time profile of inequality are examined, which do not always fit the common view that inequality is everywhere trending upwards. Overall, changes in inequality appear to be very country-specific. The same conclusion obtains when examining the causes of these changes. There is little doubt that common forces affected the distribution of income in most countries, but idiosyncratic factors have amplified their effects in some cases and offset them in others. Country-specificity also holds with regard to policies aimed at correcting inequality, even though globalisation imposes constraints on some key redistribution tools such as taxation and the regulation of financial markets. International coordination and, in particular, more transparency in cross-border financial operations are needed if governments are to recover some autonomy in these matters.

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  • François Bourguignon, 2017. "World changes in inequality: an overview of facts, causes, consequences and policies," BIS Working Papers 654, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:654
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Leonardo Gasparini, 2019. "La Desigualdad en su Laberinto: Hechos y Perspectivas sobre Desigualdad de Ingresos en América Latina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0256, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    2. Ofori, Isaac K. & Asongu, Simplice A., 2021. "Foreign Direct Investment, Governance and Inclusive Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," EconStor Preprints 234518, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    3. Cesaroni, T. & D'Elia, E. & De Santis, R., 2019. "Inequality in EMU: is there a core periphery dualism?," The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, Elsevier, vol. 20(C).
    4. Weche Gelübcke, John P. & Wambach, Achim, 2018. "The fall and rise of market power in Europe," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-003, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    5. Brei, Michael & Ferri, Giovanni & Gambacorta, Leonardo, 2018. "Financial structure and income inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 13330, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Ofori, Isaac K. & Asongu, Simplice A., 2021. "Foreign Direct Investment, Governance and Inclusive Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," EconStor Preprints 234518, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    7. Franzini, Maurizio & Raitano, Michele, 2019. "Earnings inequality and workers’ skills in Italy," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 215-224.
    8. Lorenzo Esposito & Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2019. "Defaultnomics: Making Sense of the Barro-Ricardo Equivalence in a Financialized World," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_933, Levy Economics Institute.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; labour share; redistribution; globalisation; taxation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General

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