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Income Inequality and Redistribution in Canada: 1976 to 2004

  • Heisz, Andrew
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    Using data from the 1976-to-1997 Survey of Consumer Finances and the 1993-to-2004 Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, we examine developments in family income inequality, income polarization, relative low income, and income redistribution through the tax-transfer system. We conclude that family after-tax-income inequality was stable across the 1980s, but rose during the 1989-to-2004 period. Growth in family after-tax-income inequality can be due to an increase in family market-income inequality (pre-tax, pre-transfer), or to a reduction in income redistribution through the tax-transfer system. We conclude that the increase in inequality was associated with a rise in family market-income inequality. Redistribution was at least as high in 2004 as it was at earlier cyclical peaks, but it failed to keep up with rapid growth in family market-income inequality in the 1990s. We present income inequality, polarization, and low-income statistics for several well-known measures, and use data preparations identical to those used in the Luxembourg Income Study in order to facilitate international comparisons.

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    Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series with number 2007298e.

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    Date of creation: 11 May 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2007298e
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    Web page: http://www.statcan.gc.ca

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    1. Wolfson, Michael C, 1997. "Divergent Inequalities: Theory and Empirical Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(4), pages 401-21, December.
    2. Picot, Garnett, 1998. "What is Happening to Earnings, Inequality and Youth Wages in the 1990s?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998116e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    3. Murphy, Brian & Wolfson, Michael, 1998. "New Views on Inequality Trends in Canada and the United States," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998124e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    4. Lars Osberg & Kuan Xu, 2000. "International Comparisons of Poverty Intensity: Index Decomposition and Bootstrap Inference," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(1), pages 51-81.
    5. Picot, Garnett & Green, David A. & Frenette, Marc, 2004. "Rising Income Inequality in the 1990s: An Exploration of Three Data Sources," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2004219e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    6. Myles, John, 2000. "The Maturation of Canada's Retirement Income System: Income Levels, Income Inequality and Low Income Among the Elderly," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2000147e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Picot, Garnett & Myles, John, 2005. "Income Inequality and Low Income in Canada: an International Perspective," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005240e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    8. Bracewell-Milnes, Barry, 1979. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: A Comment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(355), pages 648-51, September.
    9. Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
    10. Wolfson, Michael, 1986. "Stasis amid Change--Income Inequality in Canada, 1965-1983," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 32(4), pages 337-69, December.
    11. Green, David A. & Milligan, Kevin & Frenette, Marc, 2006. "Revisiting Recent Trends in Canadian After-Tax Income Inequality Using Census Data," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006274e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    12. Jenkins, S., 1988. "The Measurement Of Economic Inequality," Papers 170, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
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