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Getting the Measure of Inequality

Stephen Jenkins ()

No 14996, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: I focus on one of the most-commonly-cited 'facts'; about UK income inequality – that it has changed little over the last 30 years – and reflect on how robust that description is. I look at a number of fundamental issues in inequality measurement related to inequality concepts (e.g., inequality aversion, relative versus absolute inequality, and inequality of opportunity versus outcome), definitions of 'income', the income-receiving unit, and the reference period, and related data issues. There are grounds for arguing that income inequality levels are higher, and the inequality increase over time greater, than conventional approaches indicate.

Keywords: tax return data; income inequality; inequality; survey data; top incomes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C81 D31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2022-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ltv and nep-pub
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