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Labour Market Performance, Income Inequality and Poverty in OECD countries

  • Jean-Marc Burniaux
  • Flavio Padrini
  • Nicola Brandt

There have been concerns that employment-enhancing reforms along the lines of the 1994 OECD Jobs Strategy could inadvertently lead to increased income inequality and poverty. This paper focuses on the impact of institutions and redistributive policies on inequality and poverty with the view of assessing whether a trade-off between better labour market performance and equity has taken place in OECD countries, notably in the 1990s. During this period, reductions of unemployment have been associated with rising wage dispersion for workers in most OECD countries. Nevertheless, no clear general trend appears for total disposable income inequality and relative poverty among the total population. These developments suggest that gains from higher employment have in general offset the impact of rising wage dispersion. A preliminary econometric analysis for the period 1978- 2000 fails to detect any robust relationship between labour market institutions/policies and inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient. Please note that annexes are only available on the OECD Economics Department Website at: Performance du marché de l'emploi, inégalité des revenus et pauvreté dans les pays de l'OCDE Des inquiétudes ont été souvent exprimées par la suite selon lesquelles les réformes visant à stimuler l'emploi selon la base de l’Étude de l’OCDE sur l’Emploi publiée en 1994 pourrait en fait se traduire par une augmentation des inégalités des revenus et de la pauvreté. Ce document de travail a pour objet l'impact des institutions et des politiques de redistribution sur l'inégalité et la pauvreté avec la perspective d'évaluer dans quelle mesure un arbitrage entre un meilleur fonctionnement du marché de l'emploi et l'équité des revenus s'est manifesté dans les pays de l'OCDE, notamment, dans les années 90. Au cours de cette période, le chômage a été réduit dans une majorité de pays de l'OCDE et cela simultanément à une augmentation de la dispersion des salaires des travailleurs. Néanmoins, en ce qui concerne l'inégalité des revenus disponibles et la pauvreté relative au niveau de l'ensemble de ménages, il n'est pas possible de dégager une tendance générale. Il semblerait donc que les gains de redistribution associés à l'augmentation de l'emploi ont été suffisants, en général, pour compenser l'augmentation des inégalités salariales. Une analyse économétrique préliminaire pour la période 1978-2000 ne permet pas d'identifier des relations robustes entre les institutions et les politiques du marché de l'emploi, d'une part, et l'inégalité des revenus mesurée par l'indice de Gini, d'autre part. Les annexes sont disponibles uniquement sur le site web du Département des Affaires économiques de l'OCDE:

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 500.

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Date of creation: 17 Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:500-en
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