Category Archives: Inequality

Everyone thinks they’re middle-class

Rob Bray points out to me some interesting data from 1999, in which Peter Saunders (SPRC, UNSW) asked respondents to place themselves in an income decile. Of course, 1/10th of the population falls in each decile, so if people are … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 5 Comments

Top Incomes in Australia, Updated

Some years ago, I published a paper with Tony Atkinson looking at trends in Australian top incomes since 1921. We’ve now updated the results to the 2007-08 tax year (the latest available from the ATO). Here’s the Excel spreadsheet. The … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality

Social Mobility in China

Cathy Gong, Xin Meng and I have a new paper out, looking at intergenerational mobility in urban China. After making a bunch of adjustments to the data, we find a strikingly high intergenerational elasticity (implying a very low level of … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 1 Comment

Do Redistributive State Taxes Reduce Inequality?

A few years ago, I did some work on the impact of progressive taxes at the state level (in the US). There’s a theory around that high-income workers flee progressive taxes, and therefore that they have no effect on post-tax … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Tax | 3 Comments

Mind the Gap?

My AFR op-ed today is on the economics and philosophy of inequality. Full text over the fold. I’ve hyperlinked the cited studies. Two others that I can also heartily recommend are a paper by Gary Burtless & Christopher Jencks, and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality, Low Wage Work | 8 Comments

Permanent Income Inequality

I have a paper out, looking at income mobility from year to year, and how it affects estimates of inequality. One reason for writing the paper was to address the critique “sure, the US is unequal if you just use … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 3 Comments

We’ll always have (the wrong number in) Paris

I blogged last year on the difficulty I’ve been having in getting the OECD to correctly quote a paper that I wrote on intergenerational mobility. Apparently my friendly ‘oops, you did it again’ emails don’t seem to have any impact. … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality

The most sobering sentence I’ve read this week

From the NYT: “We’ve got to figure out how to break the cycle of poverty, and the way we’re doing it now isn’t working,” said Hank M. Bounds, the Mississippi commissioner of higher education and, until recently, the state superintendent … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family, Inequality | 3 Comments

Look at the changes, not at the levels

A few people have asked me recently for my view on “The Spirit Level” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, which is apparently having some impact in policy circles. John Kay’s view in the FT comes closest to my own: … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Health economics, Inequality, Macroeconomics | 9 Comments

How Socially Mobile are Conference Attendees?

At my intergenerational mobility conference last week, I asked all attendees: What percentile in the income distribution does your household now occupy? (1=lowest,50=middle, 100=highest) What percentile in the income distribution did your household occupy when you were aged 14? In … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality

Social Mobility Conference

I still have a few spare spaces for my intergenerational mobility conference at ANU on Monday 30 November. The conference will now be opened by Terry Moran, the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. So if it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events, Inequality | 4 Comments

Conference on Intergenerational Mobility

On Monday 30 November, I’m running a conference at ANU on ‘The Economics of Intergenerational Mobility’. This is an area I’ve been interested in since 2007, when I wrote what I’m pretty sure was the first paper estimating the intergenerational … Continue reading

Posted in Development Economics, Econometrics, Economics of Education, Economics of the Family, Health economics, Inequality, Labour Economics, Tax

Did Howard cut poverty? Absolutely (but not relatively)

Peter Siminski (who is coming to ANU for part of his sabbatical next year) has coauthored an interesting paper in the latest issue of the Australian Economic Review. Changes in Poverty Rates during the Howard Era (gated, alas) Joan R. … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality, Low Wage Work | 1 Comment

More Evidence on Cash 4 Class

A recent randomised evaluation from Wisconsin has potential application to the debate over Australian proposals to link school attendance to income support. Conditional Cash Penalties in Education: Evidence from the Learnfare Experiment (stable link, ungated link) by Thomas Dee Wisconsin’s … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 2 Comments

Inequality and Growth

I have a new paper out with Dan Andrews and Christopher Jencks, on the relationship between inequality and growth. We reach a finding that is pretty standard in this literature – when we restrict the sample to 1960-2000, more inequality … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Macroeconomics

Educational Catchup Downunder

A wonderfully ambitious paper just published in the new Journal of Human Capital combines school enrollment data and demographic tables to estimate educational attainment rates for 74 countries over the period 1870-2010. Here’s the abstract. The Century of Education (published … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 3 Comments

Unified but Unequal

Christian Dustmann, Johannes Ludsteck, and Uta Schoenberg have a new paper out in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, dismissing the notion that Germany has stayed pretty equal over recent decades. Here’s their abstract and the key picture: Revisiting the German … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality

Inequality Datasets

My former graduate school classmate, sociologist Andrew Clarkwest, has produced a nice set of inequality measures by race for each US state, using the 1970-2000 census. I offered to host them on my website, which prompted me to also draw … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 3 Comments

Schools That Transform

David Brooks reports on some surprisingly large impacts from a randomised trial of New York “Harlem Children’s Zone” schools. The effects are so big that I find it hard to imagine they’re readily replicable, but it’s tantalizing stuff. The fight … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 9 Comments

Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Kids?

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes. But we might also be interested in magnitudes. A new paper using German data finds a parent-child test score correlation of 0.45, which is bigger than the intergenerational earnings correlation in Germany (about 0.2, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 5 Comments

Social Mobility and Statistical Immobility

(Crossposted to Core Economics) I typically find that there’s a great benefit in posting draft papers online, and getting feedback before the paper finally goes to the journal. But I’m also learning about possible disadvantages. In 2006, I wrote what … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 5 Comments

Stressed Out on Struggle Street

From this week’s Economist, some evidence that stress might help explain intergenerational cycles of poverty. The crucial breakthrough was made three years ago, when Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania showed that the working memories of children who have … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Inequality | 6 Comments

What thoughtful rich people call the problem of poverty…

I’ve recently completed two chapters for a forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook on Economic Inequality. They’re rather long, but anyone who’s interested in a survey of the literature on top incomes, or health and inequality (coauthored with Christopher Jencks and Tim Smeeding), … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 7 Comments

Leisure Inequality

Economists spend a lot of time talking about money inequality, but here’s the flipside. The Increase in Leisure Inequality Mark Aguiar and Erik Hurst This paper examines the changing allocation of time within the United States that has occurred between … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Low Wage Work | 1 Comment

Dreaming of inequality

Don Arthur at Club Troppo (the closest thing in Australia to a nineteenth-century debating salon) has a splendid post on inequality, shedding light on the simple but ferociously difficult question: how much is too much?

Posted in Inequality | 6 Comments

Moving up in America

A new Brookings Institution report highlights the role of education in social mobility. Key finding, from the NYT writeup: The study highlights the powerful role that college can have in helping people change their station in life. Someone born into … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 3 Comments

Do neighbourhoods matter?

My AFR oped today looks at social inclusion and neighbourhood disadvantage. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Inequality, Low Wage Work | 14 Comments

Getting a bit fat around the middle?

In the AFR earlier this week, La Trobe Professor Don Harding predicted that when Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit rolls around, not one of the proposals will entail a spending cut. That won’t be true if they invite Fred Argy. In … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality | 11 Comments

Summer in Luxembourg?

The SPRC at UNSW and the Luxembourg Income Study are again offering a scholarship to fund cross-national research on inequality. Details below. The SPRC is coordinating a scholarship to enable people to attend the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS)  workshop in … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality

Who cares about inequality?

The Maxwell School has released its latest poll on Americans’ attitudes to inequality. As Norberto Bobbio once wrote, attitudes to inequality are the best way of gauging a person’s position on the left/right spectrum, and their poll strongly reinforces that.

Posted in Inequality, US Politics | 3 Comments