Poverty and income inequality

Peter Lindert, 20 November 2017

There has been a blossoming of research into fiscal incidence by income class. This column combines century-long histories for Britain and South American countries with previous research to offer a global history of government income redistribution. Contrary to some allegations, the shift towards progressivity in government budgets over the last 100 years has not been reversed since the 1970s. The rise in inequality since the 1970s therefore appears to owe nothing to a net shift government redistribution toward the rich.

Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman, 09 November 2017

Russia has undergone a dramatic economic and political transformation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991, yet the consequences on the distribution of income and wealth are not very well documented and understood. This column attempts to combine the various available data sources in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day.

Sergei Guriev, Danny Leipziger, Jonathan D. Ostry, 17 October 2017

Globalisation and technological change present policymakers with tremendous challenges in sustaining benefits while containing the dislocations and polarisation that are plaguing many countries. This column argues that the answer is not to roll back these forces, but rather to redouble efforts to make globalisation genuinely inclusive. This involves thinking hard about the design and rules governing globalisation itself, including with respect to finance, but also with respect to trade. It also necessitates a recalibration of national economic policies that affect who benefits and who pays, and a host of complementary policies to mitigate exclusion and allow citizens to bounce back when dislocations occur.

Matias Busso, Julian Cristia, Diana Hincapié, Julián Messina, Laura Ripani, 16 October 2017

Skills-development policies are needed in Latin America and the Caribbean to close the region’s productivity gap with the rest of the world, and at the same time help close the gap between those who began life with and without advantages or opportunities. This column presents the new IADB flagship report, which aims to help governments address these issues by providing detailed, evidence-based analysis of what works and what doesn’t.

Tom Krebs, Pravin Krishna, William Maloney, 22 September 2017

Research on economic mobility has failed to disentangle the underlying economic drivers. In particular, opportunities for upward movement represent welfare-enhancing mobility, while risky income shocks represent welfare-reducing mobility. This column presents a framework for differentiating between these factors, and applies the model to Mexican data. Results show that opportunity and risk are equally important drivers of income mobility, with large but opposing welfare effects. This challenges the idea that societies with higher measured income mobility are better.

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