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Demographic Change and the European Income Distribution

Author

Listed:
  • Dolls, Mathias

    () (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  • Doorley, Karina

    () (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Paulus, Alari

    () (ISER, University of Essex)

  • Schneider, Hilmar

    () (IZA)

  • Sommer, Eric

    () (IZA)

Abstract

This paper assesses the effect of key demographic changes (population ageing and upskilling) that are expected by 2030 on the income distribution in the EU-27 and examines the potential of tax-benefit systems to counterbalance negative developments. Theory predicts that population ageing should increase income inequality, while the effect of up-skilling is more ambiguous. Tax-benefit systems may stabilize these expected changes though this is largely an empirical question given their typically complex nature. We use a decomposition technique to isolate the effect of projected demographic change on income inequality and poverty from the reaction of the labor market to this demographic change through wage adjustments. Our results show that demographic change is likely to lead to increasing inequality while related wage adjustments work mainly in the opposite direction. Changes to projected relative poverty are minimal for most countries. With a few exceptions, EU tax-benefit systems are able to absorb most of projected increase in market income inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Dolls, Mathias & Doorley, Karina & Paulus, Alari & Schneider, Hilmar & Sommer, Eric, 2018. "Demographic Change and the European Income Distribution," IZA Discussion Papers 11440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11440
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Olivier Bargain & Tim Callan, 2010. "Analysing the effects of tax-benefit reforms on income distribution: a decomposition approach," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(1), pages 1-21, March.
    2. Lixin Cai & John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2006. "Accounting For Population Ageing In Tax Microsimulation Modelling By Survey Reweighting ," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 18-37, March.
    3. François Bourguignon & Amedeo Spadaro, 2006. "Microsimulation as a tool for evaluating redistribution policies," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 77-106, April.
    4. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Automatic stabilizers and economic crisis: US vs. Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 279-294.
    5. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    6. Callan, Tim & Doorley, Karina & Savage, Michael, 2018. "Inequality in EU crisis countries. How effective were automatic stabilisers?," EUROMOD Working Papers EM10/18, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    7. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1997. "The effects of economic and population growth on national saving and inequality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(1), pages 97-114, February.
    8. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.
    9. Olivier Bargain, 2012. "Decomposition analysis of distributive policies using behavioural simulations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(5), pages 708-731, October.
    10. Omar A. Aziz & Christopher Ball & John Creedy & Jesse Eedrah, 2015. "The distributional impact of population ageing in New Zealand," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(3), pages 207-226, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    income distribution; demography; labor market; decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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