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Education and income inequality in the regions of the European Union

This paper provides an empirical study of the determinants of income inequality across regions of the EU. Using the European Community Household Panel data-set for 102 regions over the period 1995-2000, it analyses how micro-economic changes in human capital distribution affect income inequality for the population as a whole and for normally working people. The different static and dynamic panel data analyses conducted reveal that, while the relationship between income inequality and income per capita is positive, the relationship between income inequality and educational attainment is not clear. Across European regions high levels of inequality in educational attainment are associated with higher income inequality. This may be interpreted as the responsiveness of the EU labour market to differences in qualifications and skills. The above results are robust to changes in the definition of income distribution. Other results indicate that population ageing and inactivity are sensitive to the specification model, while work access and latitude are negatively associated to income inequality. Urbanisation has a negative impact on inequality, but for the population as a whole only, and the relationship between unemployment and income inequality is positive. Female participation in the labour force is negatively associated with inequality and explains a major part of the variation in inequality. Finally, income inequality is lower in social-democratic welfare states, in Protestant areas, and in regions with Nordic family structures.

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Paper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2007-17.

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Date of creation: 24 Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Regional Science 49(3), August 2009: 411-437
Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2007-17
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