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Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich CountriesThirty Countries' Experiences$
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Brian Nolan, Wiemer Salverda, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth, and Herman G. van de Werfhorst

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687428

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687428.001.0001

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What Can We Learn From Past Decreasing Inequalities?

(p.616) Chapter 26 Spain
Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries

Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell

Xavier Ramos

Mónica Oviedo

Oxford University Press

In contrast with many other European and OECD countries, income inequality has, with the exception of two recession episodes, decreased over the last 30 years. Nevertheless, Spain still remains one of the most unequal countries in EU15. The most important determinants of this inequality reduction have been earnings compression, changes in the tax system, and the large increase in redistributive social expenditures. The current deep economic recession may change the picture for the coming years, as inequality is already starting to increase. In addition, socio-economic features may jeopardize the future well-being of Spaniards, and increase income and social inequalities. These features can be summarized as: the current polarization of education outcomes, the existing duality in the labour market, the traditionally high unemployment rates, the relatively high share of low-skilled workers in low productivity industries, and the large household private debt that makes many households very vulnerable.

Keywords:   inequality decrease, earnings compression, education, Spain, dual labour market, social impacts, household debt, poverty, political participation

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