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Changing Income Inequality and Immigration in Canada 1980-1995


  • Eric G. Moore
  • Michael A. Pacey


While there is a general consensus that income inequality has increased in most developed countries over the last two decades, the analytical focus has been at the national scale. However, these increases in inequality have not been uniform across different segments of society, either in terms of social group or geographic region. In particular, the high levels of immigration to metropolitan Canada have contributed to growing inequality. Using micro-level data on household income from the 1981,1986,1991 and 1996 censuses, this paper identifies the role of immigration and its differential impact on metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. The impacts accelerated during the first half of the 1990s when immigration remained high yet the economy slowed. The evidence suggests that the overall impact of immigration is a relatively short-run phenomenon as recent immigrants take time to adjust to the labour market. If recent immigrants are excluded, inequality is still increasing, but at a slower rate, especially in the largest metropolitan areas.

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  • Eric G. Moore & Michael A. Pacey, 2002. "Changing Income Inequality and Immigration in Canada 1980-1995," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 85, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:85

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Theil, Henri, 1979. "The measurement of inequality by components of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 197-199.
    2. Osberg, L., 1995. "The Equity/Efficiency Trade-Off in Retrospect," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive 95-04, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
    3. Carlos Farinha Rodrigues, 1999. "Income distribution and poverty in Portugal (1994/95)," Working Papers Department of Economics 1999/04, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    4. Jesús Ruiz-Huerta & Luis Ayala & Rosa Martinez, 1999. "Inequality, Growth and Welfare: An International Comparison," LIS Working papers 215, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
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    More about this item


    income inequality; immigration;

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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