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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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Rising Inequality and Its Impact in Canada

Rising Inequality and Its Impact in Canada

The Role of National Debt

(p.172) Chapter 8 Rising Inequality and Its Impact in Canada
Changing Inequalities and Societal Impacts in Rich Countries

Robert Andersen

Mitch McIvor

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores causes and consequences of income inequality in Canada between 1980 and 2010. This has been relatively high since 1980, though it grew substantially in the mid-1990s. Much of the increase was driven by large gains for those at the very top, though there were also losses for those at the very bottom. While market forces played an important role, political factors also contributed. What was crucial was how governments responded to public debt that was quickly getting out of control. Government policy served to both increase income shares for the rich and worsen economic hardship for those at the bottom. The combination of government cutbacks and a rise in market income inequality resulted in a much greater disparity. Demographic changes—especially related to family composition and immigration—also played a role. Particularly important were significant increases in the number of families with two income earners and marital homogamy.

Keywords:   income inequality, market incomes, public debt, homogamy, demographic change, Canada, social impacts, poverty, political participation, political factors

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