Income Distribution Changes and Their Impact in the Post-Second World War Period

Giovanni Andrea Cornia, Tony Addison and Sampsa Kiiski

in Inequality Growth and Poverty in an Era of Liberalization and Globalization

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199271412
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601255 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

 Income Distribution Changes and Their Impact in the Post-Second World War Period

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Analyses the trends in within‐country inequality during the post‐Second World War period, with particular attention to the last 20 years, on the basis of a review of the relevant literature and of an econometric analysis of inequality trends in 73 countries accounting for 80% of the world's population and 91% of world gross domestic product–purchasing power parities (GDP–PPP). Suggests that the last two decades (the 1980s and 1990s) have been characterized by a surge in within‐country inequality in about two‐thirds of the developing, developed, and transitional nations analysed. Also suggests that in those countries where the upsurge in inequality was sizeable or where inequality rose from already high levels, growth, and poverty alleviation slowed down perceptibly. While this trend towards higher inequality differs substantially across countries in its extent, timing, and specific causes, it marks a clear departure from that observed during the first 30 years of the post‐Second Word War period during which, with the exception of Latin America and parts of sub‐Saharan Africa, a widespread move towards greater egalitarianism was noted in most of the socialist, developing, and industrialized economies.

Keywords: change; developed countries; developing countries; developing economies; econometric analysis; economic growth; egalitarianism; growth; history; income distribution; income inequality; industrialized economies; inequality; inequality change; inequality trends; poverty; poverty alleviation; socialist economies; transitional countries

Chapter.  13144 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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