Why Has the Income Distribution Changed?

John Hills

in Inequality and the State

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780199276646
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601644 | DOI:
 Why Has the Income Distribution Changed?

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Looks at some of the causes of the rapid growth of inequality between the 1970s and 1990s, and of more recent trends. Looks at the widening distribution of earnings for those in work in the UK and other countries, and at the factors that are suggested to have led to changes in it, such as ‘skill-biased technological change’ and breakdown of social norms. It looks at other key elements in determining how much income households receive from earnings – the levels of unemployment, worklessness, and economic inactivity. This shows the complexity of the relationship between the levels of unemployment and of poverty, for instance. Discusses other sources of market income, the impact of tax and benefit policy, and of changes in them, such as in the level of cash benefits relative to other incomes.

Keywords: cash benefits; composition of income; earnings dispersion; inequality; poverty; social security; taxation; technological change; unemployment

Chapter.  10244 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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