Tag: income dispersion

  • Don’t Let the Data Fool You — Consumption Inequality Mirrors Income Inequality Over Time

    Several important studies have shown an apparent paradox: even as income inequality has taken off over the last thirty years, differences in consumption between the rich and poor have changed slightly or not at all. Focusing on the bottom of the distribution, Bruce Meyer and James Sullivan (2009) actually conclude that consumption poverty has declined […]

  • The declining generosity of the benefits system

    A quick research-based post today (following by a similarly quick research-based post tomorrow). As I’ve said before, the Resolution Foundation are the UK think-tank to watch – their work is research-heavy, politically-potent, and is setting the agenda about declining living standards. But it’s a graph about the benefits system that recently caught my eye.

  • Straight Talk on Economic Mobility

    Americans may be skeptical of some large welfare state programs, but a widely shared conviction is that children that are born to poor parents should have the chance to move upward. That’s why it was good to hear President Obama finally talking passionately about economic mobility in his Tuesday speech on income inequality in Osawatomie, […]

  • Two visual thoughts

    An interruption from my series of posts on the deservingness of benefit claimants, to share two charts that caught my eye over the past two weeks (and because of a time shortage this week…), looking at global inequality and unions in Britain.

  • Is Income Inequality Exaggerated?

    The premise of Occupy Wall Street is simple: American society is becoming more unequal as a privileged minority takes control of an increasingly larger share of wealth and power. As I mentioned in my post last week, not all scholars agree with this assessment. Robert J. Gordon at Northwestern University in a 2009 NBER paper […]

  • The Top 1% in the News

    Occupy Wall Street has moderately heightened interest in the rising gap between the top one percent of income earners and the bottom ninety-nine percent. (It’s important to not get carried away on this point… compare this and this chart from google trends, the top panel shows google searches and the bottom shows news coverage). With […]

  • Does Income Inequality Cause Poor Health?

    Paul Kelleher caught some flack for a blog post last week in which he approvingly cited a 2003 study by Angus Deaton and Darren Lubotsky (DL) that supposedly refutes the idea that income inequality causes poor health. I was curious. Paul sent me the original paper, a 2009 published critique by Ash and Robinson (AR), […]

  • Labor Unions and the Moral Economy

    Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld have a really excellent working paper that revisits the debate about the effect of declining unionization since the 1970s on wage inequality. Unions were a staple in many “smokestack” industries in the 1950s and 1960s, but they began to fall off in the 1980s due to a combination of political […]

  • Who benefits from ‘economic growth?’

    For a while now, it’s been recognised that wages for median workers in the US haven’t risen in a generation – but it was sometimes assumed that this was a phenomenon limited to the US. However, a new report released today by the Resolution Foundation – my tip for the most influential UK think-tank over […]

  • Revisiting American Inequality: Did the Poor Really Get Poorer?

    American income inequality is commonly told as a story of divergence: since the 1970s, the share of income going to the top of income distribution has skyrocketed, while the share of income going to the bottom of the income distribution has seen large declines. Even in absolute terms, there is evidence that incomes for low-wage […]