Poverty and income inequality

Martin Ravallion, 22 May 2019

Even when the central government is committed to a jobs guarantee, rationing of work opportunities can arise under decentralised implementation in poor places. This column examines India’s efforts to implement such a scheme and finds that there are two main drivers of this rationing: local administrative costs and local corruption. Partial administrative reforms by the centre can have perverse effects. Deeper policy reforms are needed to assure that stipulated rights for poor people are attained in practice.

Sergi Basco, Martí Mestieri, 19 May 2019

Trade in intermediates (or ‘unbundling of production') and trade in capital have become increasingly important in last 25 years. This column shows that trade in intermediates generates a reallocation of capital across countries that exacerbates world inequality in both income and welfare. Unbundling of production hurts middle-income countries but helps those with high productivity. Trade in intermediates also increases within-country inequality, and this increase is U-shaped in the aggregate productivity level of the country. 

Margherita Borella, Mariacristina De Nardi, Fang Yang, Douglas Clement, 17 May 2019

Behind the headline economic growth in the US over the last five decades lie clear patterns of widening wealth inequality. This column shows that white, less-educated Americans born in the 1960s are worse off than the generation born 20 years previously, based on wage changes, increased medical costs, and shorter life expectancy. This disparity could be worth as much as $132,000.

Sandra Black, Paul Devereux, Petter Lundborg, Kaveh Majlesi, 16 May 2019

The wealth of parents and that of their children is highly correlated, but little is known about the different roles genetic and environmental factors play in this. This column compares outcomes for adopted children in Sweden and those of their adoptive and biological parents and finds there is a substantial role for environment in the transmission of wealth and a much smaller role for pre-birth factors. And while human capital linkages between parents and children appear to have stronger biological than environmental roots, earnings and income are, if anything, more environmental. 

Mariacristina De Nardi, 03 May 2019

MariaCristina De Nardi tells Tim Phillips that non-college-educated Americans born in the 1960s are dying younger, earning less, and paying more for healthcare than in their parents' generation.

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