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Income Distribution and Poverty in Selected OECD Countries


  • Jean-Marc Burniaux
  • Thai-Thanh Dang
  • Douglas Fore
  • Michael F. Förster
  • Marco Mira d'Ercole
  • Howard Oxley


This working paper presents evidence on changes in income distribution and poverty in thirteen OECD countries over the two decades up to the first half of the 1990s. While country experience has been variable, income and poverty rose in most countries. Both earnings and capital and self employment incomes contributed to these developments, partly offset by an increase in the importance of (progressive) taxes and transfers in total income. Increases in the share of no-worker households appears to have contributed to widening income distribution. Transfers appear to be relatively evenly spread across income groups in a number of countries, reflecting the weight of age-related transfers. An analysis of average incomes and poverty by household type, suggests that the retirement-age population has tended to do better, while younger households and households with children have become less well off and poverty has tended to shift from the old to the young. This mainly reflects ... Ce document de travail présente pour treize pays de l’OCDE les changements dans la distribution des revenus et le niveau de pauvreté au cours des deux décennies précédant le milieu des années 1990s. L’expérience des pays diffère, les revenus et la pauvreté se sont accrus dans la plupart des pays. Les gains salariaux et les revenus du capital et des emplois non salariés ont tous deux contribué à cette évolution, en partie compensée par un accroissement de la part des impôts (progressifs) et des transferts dans le revenu total. L’augmentation de la proportion de ménages sans emploi semble avoir contribué à l’élargissement de la distribution des revenus. Dans un certain nombre de pays, l’allocation des transferts qui apparaît également distribuée entre les différent groupes de revenus, reflète le poids de transfert liés à l’âge. Par ailleurs, l’analyse des revenus relatifs et de la pauvreté par type de ménage suggère que la situation de la population à l’âge de la retraite tend à ...

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Marc Burniaux & Thai-Thanh Dang & Douglas Fore & Michael F. Förster & Marco Mira d'Ercole & Howard Oxley, 1998. "Income Distribution and Poverty in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:189-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Svetlana Misihina, 2011. "The Social Support for the Vulnerable Population Groups," Research Paper Series, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, issue 154P.
    2. Koen Caminada & Chen Wang, 2011. "Disentangling Income Inequality and the Redistributive Effect of Social Transfers and Taxes in 36 LIS Countries," LIS Working papers 567, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Cok Vrooman, 2009. "Poverty and Institutional Regimes A Generalised Budget Approach in 11 Countries," LIS Working papers 518, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    4. Sanford M. Jacoby, 2005. "Business and Society in Japan and the United States," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(4), pages 617-634, December.
    5. Rense Nieuwenhuis & Wim Van Lancker & Diego Collado & Bea Cantillon, 2016. "Has the potential for compensating poverty by women’s employment growth been depleted?," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/02, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    6. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2017. "Inequality and isoelastic equivalence scales: restrictions and implications," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 48(2), pages 295-326, February.

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