Labour Market Institutions and the Personal Distribution of Income in the OECD
We examine what determines differences across countries and over time in the distribution of personal incomes in the OECD. We first model the wage determination process and show that unemployment, the labour share, and the wage differential are all functions of labour market institutions. Next we show that in a model economy with only four types of agents – capitalists, skilled and unskilled workers, and unemployed – the Gini coefficient of personal incomes can be expressed as a function of the above three variables. Labour market institutions hence affect income inequality, though the sign of their impact is ambiguous. Stronger unions and/or a more generous unemployment benefit tend to reduce inequality through reduced wage differentials, a higher labour share, and also higher unemployment. We then use a panel of OECD countries for the period 1970-96 to examine these effects. We find, first, that the labour share remains an important aspect of overall inequality patterns, and, second, that stronger unions and a more generous unemployment benefit tend to reduce income inequality. High capital-labour ratios also emerge as a strong equalising factor, which has in part offset the impact of increasing wage inequality on the US distribution of personal incomes.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Economica, 2010, 77 (307), 413-450|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
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.:
- Bourguignon, Francois & Ferreira, Francisco H. G., 2002.
"Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder : accounting for differences in household income distributions across countries,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2828, The World Bank.
- François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Phillippe G. Leite, 2002. "Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder: Accounting for Differences in Household Income Distributions Across Countries," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 478, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
- François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Phillippe G. Leite, 2002. "Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder : Accounting for Differences in Household Income Distributions Across Countries," DELTA Working Papers 2002-04, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- François Bourguignon & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Phillipe G. Leite, 2002. "Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder: accounting for differences in household income distributions across countries," Textos para discussão 452, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
- Deininger, K & Squire, L, 1996. "Measuring Income Inequality : A New Data-Base," Papers 537, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "Inequality and development A critique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-43, June.
- Michael F. Förster, 2000. "Trends and Driving Factors in Income Distribution and Poverty in the OECD Area," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 42, OECD Publishing.
- Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999.
"Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
- Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & GarcÃa-PeÃ±alosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Scholarly Articles 12502063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10091, Paris Dauphine University.
- Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and economic growth: the perspective of the new growth theories," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9908, CEPREMAP.
- Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
- Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2007.
"Growth and human capital: good data, good results,"
Journal of Economic Growth,
Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-76, March.
- Daniele Checchi & Claudio Lucifora, 2002.
"Unions and labour market institutions in Europe,"
CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 361-408, October.
- Bourguignon, F. & Morrisson, C., 1995.
"Inequality and Development: The Role of Dualism,"
DELTA Working Papers
95-32, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Checchi, D., 2000.
"Does Educational Achievement Help to Explain Income Inequality?,"
208, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
- Daniele Checchi, 2000. "Does educational achievement help to explain income inequality?," Departmental Working Papers 2000-11, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
- Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969.
"Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals,"
Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 382-97, July.
- Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1967. "Distribution of Income and Wealth Among Individuals," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 238, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Bentolila Samuel & Saint-Paul Gilles, 2003.
"Explaining Movements in the Labor Share,"
The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics,
De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-33, October.
- Bentolila, Samuel & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1998. "Explaining Movements in the Labour Share," CEPR Discussion Papers 1958, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Samuel Bentolila & Gilles Saint Paul, 1999. "Explaining movements in the labor share," Economics Working Papers 374, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Bentollia, S. & Saint-Paul, G., 1999. "Explaining Movements in the Labor Share," Papers 9905, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
- Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
- Daron Acemoglu, 2003.
"Labor- And Capital-Augmenting Technical Change,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 1-37, 03.
- Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
- Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998.
"Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality,"
CEMA Working Papers
73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
- Antras, Pol, 2004.
"Is the U.S. Aggregate Production Function Cobb-Douglas? New Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution,"
3196325, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Antràs Pol, 2004. "Is the U.S. Aggregate Production Function Cobb-Douglas? New Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-36, April.
- Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993.
"International comparisons of educational attainment,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
- Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "International Comparisons of Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 4349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
- Alain de Serres & Stefano Scarpetta & Christine de la Maisonneuve, 2002. "Sectoral Shifts in Europe and the United States: How They Affect Aggregate Labour Shares and the Properties of Wage Equations," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 326, OECD Publishing.
- Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
- Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950-1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-68, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1681. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.