IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/lis/liswps/422.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Exactly How has Income Inequality Changed? Patterns of Distributional Change in Core Societies

Author

Listed:
  • Arthur Alderson

    ()

  • Jason Beckfield
  • Francois Nielsen

Abstract

The recent resurgence of income inequality in some of the core societies has spawned a wide-ranging debate as to the culprits. Progress in this debate has been complicated by the fact that many of the theories that have been developed to account for the inequality upswing imply radically different patterns of distributional change, while predicting the same outcome in terms of the behavior of standard summary measures (e.g., a rise in the Gini coefficient or in Theil's inequality). Handcock and Morris (1999) have developed methods that allow the analyst to precisely identify patterns of distributional change and a set of summary measures to characterize such changes. These are based on the relative distribution, defined for our purposes as the ratio of the fraction of households in the baseline year to the fraction of households in the comparison year in each decile of the distribution of income. We use the available high-quality data from the Luxemburg Income Study to explore the evolution of household income inequality in sixteen core societies. We describe exactly how inequality grew in some core societies since the late 1960s and discuss the extent to which patterns of distributional change were homogeneous or heterogeneous across the core. We find that 1) rising inequality is generally associated with polarization, rather than upgrading or downgrading alone, 2) among those societies experiencing the largest increases in inequality, upgrading typically takes precedence over downgrading in the course of such polarization, and 3) declining inequality, where it occurs, has been the result of convergence, with the magnitude of the shift from the lower tail to the middle exceeding that of the shift from upper tail to the middle.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur Alderson & Jason Beckfield & Francois Nielsen, 2005. "Exactly How has Income Inequality Changed? Patterns of Distributional Change in Core Societies," LIS Working papers 422, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:lis:liswps:422
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.lisdatacenter.org/wps/liswps/422.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2009. "Using The P90-P10 Index To Measure U.S. Inequality Trends With Current Population Survey Data: A View From Inside The Census Bureau Vaults," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(1), pages 166-185, March.
    2. repec:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:608-632 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Young-hwan Byun, 2018. "The Type of Right-wing Government and the Decline of Middle-Income Strata in Industrialized Democracies," LIS Working papers 727, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    4. Khan, Haider Ali & Schettino, Francesco & Gabriele, Alberto, 2017. "Polarization and the Middle Class in China: a Non-Parametric Evaluation Using CHNS and CHIP Data," MPRA Paper 86133, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Clementi, Fabio & Molini, Vasco & Schettino, Francesco, 2018. "All that Glitters is not Gold: Polarization Amid Poverty Reduction in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 275-291.
    6. Louis Chauvel, 2016. "The Intensity and Shape of Inequality: The ABG Method of Distributional Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(1), pages 52-68, March.
    7. Louis Chauvel, 2014. "The Intensity and Shape of Inequality: The ABG Method of Distributional Analysis," LIS Working papers 609, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    8. Josh Curtis & Robert Andersen, 2015. "How Social Class Shapes Attitudes on Economic Inequality: The Competing Forces of Self-Interest and Legitimation," LIS Working papers 644, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    9. Ilaria Petrarca & Roberto Ricciuti, 2015. "Relative income distribution in six European countries: market and disposable income," LIS Working papers 629, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lis:liswps:422. 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: (Piotr Paradowski). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/lisprlu.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.