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Productivity and the Bonus Culture$
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Andrew Smithers

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198836117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198836117.001.0001

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The Problem of Income Inequality

The Problem of Income Inequality

(p.42) 7 The Problem of Income Inequality
Productivity and the Bonus Culture

Andrew Smithers

Oxford University Press

Living standards change in line with GDP per head only if the distribution of incomes is unchanged. If incomes become less equally distributed the living standards of most people will fall even if GDP per head is stable. The Gini Coefficient is the most widely used indicator designed to measure the distribution of income. UK inequality, on this measure, has risen since 1977, stabilized since 1987, and fallen in recent years. In the US there has been a long-term increase in income inequality. Unless this US trend for increased income inequality halts, it is quite likely that even if GDP per head rises in the US, the living standard of the average voter will fall. The recent data suggest that changes in income inequality pose less of a threat to living standards in the UK then they do to those in the US.

Keywords:   living standards, GDP per head, Gini Coefficient, inequality, mean, median, political impact, average voter

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