Category Archives: Inequality

How far does the apple fall from the tree?

Australian sociologists have a long history of work on intergenerational mobility, but economists have come late to the party. Nonetheless, we have our own particular toolkit, which considers the questions somewhat differently from sociologists. I’ve just had a paper published in … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 9 Comments

Poor Kids, Poor Health?

One of the more important debates in health economics at present is over the so-called “income gradient” in children’s health, and whether it’s flatter in the UK than in the US. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Inequality | 3 Comments

How will the parties' policies affect the poverty rate?

A commonly used yardstick by welfare groups in Australia (such as ACOSS or the Brotherhood of St Lawrence) is relative poverty. This is typically defined as the share of people living in households whose post-tax incomes put them below half … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality | 15 Comments

Of Eureka and Underdogs

My oped in today’s AFR is on targeted welfare. This is a topic on which I’ve learned a lot from the blogosophere over the last couple of years, so thanks to those who’ve helped shape my thinking on it. (And … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality, Tax | 38 Comments

Two Americas

My co-author Tim Smeeding draws my attention to some fascinating new research. In 1988, three-quarters of Americans thought that their society was not one of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Now, half of them think it does fit that description. More … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 4 Comments

More Inequality, Less Social Mobility

Dan Andrews and I have a short paper out on the relationship between inequality and intergenerational mobility (aka social mobility). By contrast with the view that inequality is offset by more income mobility across generations, it turns out that in … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 10 Comments

Measuring Poverty

The folks who run HILDA (Australia’s leading panel data survey) are doing some interesting thinking about consumption inequality, income inequality and wealth inequality, which could significantly change our estimates of poverty in Australia. Here’s a preview. (HT: Jeremy Lawson)

Posted in Inequality | 1 Comment

Poor Policies

Ed Glaeser has a fascinating op-ed that gets at the question: should government focus on helping poor people, or poor places? (HT: Mark Thoma)

Posted in Inequality, US Politics | 15 Comments

Sunny Sundays and Executive Earnings

It’s a comfortably warm day in New York, and 5-month old Sebastian and I have just returned from an early morning walk, where we engaged in one of life’s great pleasures – sitting the sun reading the Sunday New York … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 5 Comments

Two Bills

Dan Andrews drew my attention to the speeches of Bill Gates and Bill Clinton at this year’s Harvard graduation ceremony. Both are superb speeches, and take a strikingly similar theme: global inequality matters, and it’s possible to do something about … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Trade & Development | 2 Comments

What Unions Do

A new paper on US union wage effects finds that they’re much bigger at the bottom of the earnings distribution. New estimates of union wage effects in the U.S Maury Gittleman and Brooks Pierce Economics Letters We present new estimates for … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Inequality | 2 Comments

Testing the trickle-down theory

Next Tuesday, 8 May, I’ll be presenting a seminar on ‘Top Incomes and Growth’ in the ANU RSPAS seminar series. It’ll be in Seminar Room B of the HC Coombs Building, and will run from 2.00-3.30pm. The work is all … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events, Inequality | 6 Comments

Untaxed carbon forever?

My friend Dennis Glover, a former historian and speechwriter, has an op-ed in today’s Australian, comparing the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union’s response to climate change with the Luddites’ response to the industrial revolution. But the comparison isn’t as … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality | 5 Comments

Top Incomes in Indonesia

Pierre van der Eng and I have a new paper out, looking at inequality in Indonesia. Entitled Top Incomes in Indonesia, 1920-2004, it uses a combination of taxation statistics and survey data to estimate how the share of the very richest has … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 7 Comments

In the Lap of Luxembourg

Bruce Bradbury, economist extraordinaire and regular blog commenter, tells me that UNSW’s SPRC is administering a partial scholarship for an Australian early career researcher to attend a one-week training workshop for the Luxembourg Income Study in Luxembourg from 24-30 June 2007. Applications close … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 1 Comment

A Century of Top Incomes

My coauthor Tony Atkinson is giving a talk at the ANU in a couple of weeks. Tony is a brilliant economist. And how often do you get to hear a knight talk about inequality? ANU TREVOR SWAN DISTINGUISHED LECTURES IN ECONOMICS  … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 2 Comments

Wage inequality

In a discussion of minimum wages, Anthony says: Minimum wage adjustments in Australia also serve another purpose: when the AIRC and now the Fair Pay Commission adjusts minimum wages it does not simply raise the level of a single minimum … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Low Wage Work | 9 Comments

Minimum Wages #1

Next Wednesday (Nov 15), I’ll be speaking at a Melbourne University forum on minimum wages, in the illustrious company of labour economists experts David Card and Mark Wooden. Details over the fold.

Posted in Inequality, Low Wage Work | Comments Off on Minimum Wages #1

The soft middle

Writing in New Matilda, Tristan Ewins contrasts the Beazley tax plan with the actual distribution of pre-tax income: Speaking earlier this year at the National Press Club, Beazley had identified ‘middle Australia’ as those earning around $60,000 per year. At … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Tax | 38 Comments

Upping the Anti

I spoke this morning at a seminar organised by the Youth Coalition of the ACT, for Antipoverty Week. I argued that cutting effective marginal tax rates (or introducing a wage subsidy) is a better way of tackling poverty than raising … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Low Wage Work | 4 Comments

Indonesian Inequality

I presented a seminar this afternoon at ANU’s Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, on top incomes in Indonesia between 1920 and 2005. My expertise on this project is empirical, not substantive. Unlike my coauthor, Pierre Van Der Eng, I don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Tax | Comments Off on Indonesian Inequality

Where to learn about churn and burn

For one of the most interesting welfare debates in Australia this year, check out this thread at Club Troppo. It exhibits many of the things I love about the Ozblogosphere: contributions from people on both sides of the political fence, … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Inequality, Low Wage Work | 1 Comment

What they're saying about us in Luxembourg

I reported last month on a simple exercise I’d done that seemed to show the post-tax distribution of income in Australia becoming more unequal under the Howard Government. In response, a few readers wrote that these figures seemed to be at … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 8 Comments

Inequality in Australia Conference – 2 Nov

I’m convening a conference on Inequality in Australia at ANU on Thursday 2 November 2006. The speakers will be Christopher Jencks (Harvard), Bruce Headey (Melbourne), Peter Saunders (UNSW), Bob Gregory (ANU) and your truly. Here’s the blurb: The sessions will … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 1 Comment

Political Economy of Tax Reform in Australia

The John Curtin Institute of Public Policy has just established the journal Public Policy. I have a piece in the first issue entitled “Political Economy of Tax Reform in Australia“. It’s only a short paper, essentially building on a piece I … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 5 Comments

Bring the grandkids

Susan Mayer, Dean of the Harris School at the University of Chicago, is speaking on intergenerational inheritance of income at 5.30pm on Thursday 31 August at the National Museum. Here are the details, and a PDF flyer.

Posted in Inequality | 1 Comment

Slicing the Pie

  I’ve been playing around recently with the new income distribution data that the ABS has released. I’ve created the graphs above, which show the change in real hourly wages and real income across the distribution, over the first eight years of the … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 14 Comments

Silly hat, smart bloke

Professor Richard Freeman, one of the people who taught me labour economics, and perhaps the most prolific writer in the economics profession, is giving a seminar at Sydney University on Thursday. Details: Title: “Experimental Economics on Inequality” Time: 4 pm, … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Universities | 5 Comments

Top Floor, Going Up

An updated version of my research with Tony Atkinson on top incomes is written up by John Garnaut in the SMH today. There’s not much there to surprise regular readers of this blog. But since it’s not every day that … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 7 Comments

Does Inequality Kill You?

It is often argued that inequality is bad for your health. Indeed, in Imagining Australia, my coauthors and I made precisely this argument, saying that one of the reasons that policymakers should be worried about inequality is because it makes … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Inequality | 25 Comments