The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries

Hardcover | May 8, 2008

byA B Atkinson

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This book is about how much people earn and why the distribution of earnings has been changing over time. The gap between the top and bottom in the United States has widened significantly since 1980. Why has this happened? Is it due to new technologies? What is the role of globalisation? Arethere historical precedents?The book begins with the "race" between technology and education, and shows that continuing technical progress does not necessarily imply a continuing rise in dispersion. It then examines the experience of 20 OECD countries over the twentieth century, material presented in the form of 20 countrycase studies. The book breaks new ground in assembling data on the distribution of individual earnings covering much of the twentieth century and drawing on a variety of under-exploited sources.The findings overturn a number of widely-held beliefs. It is not the earnings of the low paid that have been most affected by the recent changes; widening is largely due to what is happening at the top. The recent rise in earnings dispersion is not unprecedented, but should be seen as part of alonger-run history of successive compression and expansion of earnings differences.

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This book is about how much people earn and why the distribution of earnings has been changing over time. The gap between the top and bottom in the United States has widened significantly since 1980. Why has this happened? Is it due to new technologies? What is the role of globalisation? Arethere historical precedents?The book begins...

Sir Tony Atkinson has been Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford, from 1994 to 2005. He was previously Tooke Professor at the London School of Economics, and founder Editor of the Journal of Public Economics. He has previously been President of the Econometric Society, of the European Economic Association, the Royal Economic Society, and...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.26 inPublished:May 8, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199532435

ISBN - 13:9780199532438

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Table of Contents

Part I: The Lecture1. Introduction2. The race between technology and education- the textbook model3. Taking data seriously - where the data come from and how we should use them4. The changes in dispersion since 19805. Recent history in full - was there a lull before the storm?6. A longer-run view of the earnings distribution - the Great Compression and the Golden Age7. What we are seeking to explain8. A behavioural model of change in pay differentials - the "fanning out" at the top of the earnings distribution9. Superstars and pyramids - two complementary explanations for changes in top earnings10. ConclusionsPart II Details of the ModelsNote 1 The dynamics of supply and demandNote 2 A behavioural model of changing pay normsNote 3 Superstars and pyramidsPart III New Empirical Evidence for 20 OECD CountriesIntroduction to Part IIIA. AustraliaB. AustriaC. CanadaD. Czech RepublicE. DenmarkF. FinlandG. FranceH. GermanyI. HungaryJ. IrelandK. ItalyL. NetherlandsM. New ZealandN. NorwayO. PolandP. PortugalQ. SwedenR. SwitzerlandS. United KingdomT. United States