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The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries$
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A.B. Atkinson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532438

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532438.001.0001

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The Changes in Dispersion since 1980

The Changes in Dispersion since 1980

(p.31) 4 The Changes in Dispersion since 1980
The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries

A. B. Atkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the changes in earnings dispersion in nineteen countries since 1980. In sixteen out of nineteen countries, either the bottom decile has fallen by five percent or more, or the top decile has risen by five percent or more, and in seven cases both have happened. It is not enough to look just at the decile ratio, the chapter states, which masks the asymmetry in the changes in the distribution; much of the action over the past twenty-five or more years has been in the upper part of the distribution. There is diversity in the experience of individual countries. A large number of countries have experienced a ‘fanning out’ of the upper half of the earnings distribution.

Keywords:   earnings dispersion, earnings distribution, income, decile ratio

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