Handbook of Income Distribution, Volume 1

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Anthony Barnes Atkinson, François Bourguignon
Elsevier, 2000 - Business & Economics - 958 pages
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Distributional issues may not have always been among the main concerns of the economic profession. Today, in the beginning of the 2000s, the position is different. During the last quarter of a century, economic growth proved to be unsteady and rather slow on average. The situation of those at the bottom ceased to improve regularly as in the preceding fast growth and full-employment period. Europe has seen prolonged unemployment and there has been widening wage dispersion in a number of OECD countries. Rising affluence in rich countries coexists, in a number of such countries, with the persistence of poverty. As a consequence, it is difficult nowadays to think of an issue ranking high in the public economic debate without some strong explicit distributive implications. Monetary policy, fiscal policy, taxes, monetary or trade union, privatisation, price and competition regulation, the future of the Welfare State are all issues which are now often perceived as conflictual because of their strong redistributive content.


Economists have responded quickly to the renewed general interest in distribution, and the contents of this Handbook are very different from those which would have been included had it been written ten or twenty years ago. It has now become common to have income distribution variables playing a pivotal role in economic models. The recent interest in the relationship between growth and distribution is a good example of this. The surge of political economy in the contemporary literature is also a route by which distribution is coming to re-occupy the place it deserves. Within economics itself, the development of models of imperfect information and informational asymmetries have not only provided a means of resolving the puzzle as to why identical workers get paid different amounts, but have also caused reconsideration of the efficiency of market outcomes. These models indicate that there may not necessarily be an efficiency/equity trade-off; it may be possible to make progress on both fronts.


The introduction and subsequent 14 chapters of this Handbook cover in detail all these new developments, insisting at the same time on how they tie with the previous literature on income distribution. The overall perspective is intentionally broad. As with landscapes, adopting various points of view on a given issue may often be the only way of perceiving its essence or reality. Accordingly, income distribution issues in the various chapters of this volume are considered under their theoretical or their empirical side, under a normative or a positive angle, in connection with redistribution policy, in a micro or macro-economic context, in different institutional settings, at various point of space, in a historical or contemporaneous perspective. Specialized readers will go directly to the chapter dealing with the issue or using the approach they are interested in. For them, this Handbook will be a clear and sure reference. To more patient readers who will go through various chapters of this volume, this Handbook should provide the multi-faceted view that seems necessary for a deep understanding of most issues in the field of distribution.

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Contents

INCOME DISTRIBUTION AND ECONOMICS
3
Contents of the Handbook vii
5
Chapter
7
VOLUME
11
Chapter
13
Labour market and income distribution
21
Income distribution economic inequality and social justice
41
References
53
Selection theory
385
Human capital
400
Insurance agency and earnings
412
Conclusion
421
Chapter 8
429
Chapter 8
433
Persistent inequality and the family transmission of wealth
436
Persistent inequality and the family transmission of ability
446

Social Justice and Distribution of Income
59
Libertarian theories of justice
68
Income inequality and nonincome concerns
76
Social Justice and Distribution of Income
83
Chapter 2
87
Distributional judgements
93
Ranking distributions
100
An axiomatic approach to inequality measurement
107
Welfare functions
113
The structure of inequality
123
Multidimensional approaches
130
Chapter 2
133
References
150
Chapter 3
167
Chapter 3
171
Was there a rise in inequality sometime before 1914?
173
When incomes leveled
192
Chapter 4
196
Rising inequality since the 1970s
200
The main sources of episodic inequality movements
205
The Case of Europe
217
Intersectorial and intrasectorial inequality
239
Factors explaining the longterm evolution of distribution
249
Appendix A
256
Elseier Science B V All rights reserved
261
Chapter 5
262
Differences in inequality across OECD countries
273
Differences in trends in inequality
285
Mobility
294
References
304
Income Poverty in Advanced Countries
309
Introduction
310
Evidence about the extent of crosssectional poverty
333
Decomposing poverty across population groups
344
Summary
362
References
373
Chapter 7
379
Persistent inequality and the imperfect capital market
453
Persistent inequality and local segregation
462
Persistent inequality and selffulfilling beliefs
468
Chapter 9
477
Aggregate accumulation and distribution
483
Investments savings and financial markets
498
Politics and institutions
518
Empirical evidence
527
Other directions of research
533
Wealth Inequality Wealth Constraints and Economic Performance
541
Land contracts
560
Wealth risk aversion and insurance
567
Wealth constraints and residual claimancy in team production
577
Initial asset inequality and cooperation on the local commons
587
Conclusion
595
Chapter 11
605
Empirical evidence on wealth inequality
628
Applied work on the determinants of wealth distribution
648
Summary and conclusions
663
Chapter 11
667
Chapter 12
677
Chapter 12
683
Constraints on redistribution
732
Conclusions
777
Income Distribution and Development
791
Distribution and the process of development
797
Distribution development and policy
811
Beyond national income distributions
824
directions for the the next decade
832
Chapter 14
843
Chapter 14
845
Distribution in transitiontheory
875
Distribution in transitionevidence
884
Conclusions
909
Author index 919
1
Subject index 937
19
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About the author (2000)

Sir Tony Atkinson is Professor of Economics at Oxford University and Fellow of Nuffield College, where he was Warden from 1994 to 2005. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and has been President of the Royal Economic Society, of the Econometric Society, of the European Economic Association, and of the International Economic Association. He was knighted in 2001 for services to economics and is Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur.

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