Chapter

The Redistribution of Income

Henry Phelps Brown

in Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality

Published in print November 1988 | ISBN: 9780198286486
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596773 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198286481.003.0013
 The Redistribution of Income

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The redistribution of income by way of taxes and benefits has proved to be a powerful instrument of social policy in the twentieth century. The transformation of the standard of living in Western countries has been made possible only by the advance of productivity; but the market forces that have distributed these gains among the working population have not of themselves helped those who, for whatever reason, are unable to work. These people have always depended for subsistence on transfers within the household and the community, but it is the national system of transfer developed in more recent years that has enabled them to share in the general advance: more widely, many households of lower income have gained from an excess of benefits received over tax paid. This chapter examines the evidence for the extent of redistribution. It has four sections, the first looking at the measurement of redistribution in principle and practice, and the last three looking at redistribution in the UK (the longest analysis), Sweden, and the USA.

Keywords: benefits; income distribution; redistribution; social policy; Sweden; taxes; UK; USA

Chapter.  6672 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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