Cross-National Differences in Income Inequality

Isolating the Roles of Demography, Market Returns, Policy and Labour Supply

Denisa M. Sologon, Philippe Van Kerm, Jinjing Li, Cathal O'Donoghue

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

Abstract

Isolating the effect of various influences on income inequality is of policy importance. Traditionally, comparison studies explored the changes of inequality through the lens of summary indices. This method however, can be crude because the intertwined nature of the tax policies and the market income distribution creates a complex nonlinear pattern than cannot be fully captured by indices. We propose a unified simulation framework for exploring the drivers of the cross-national differences in the distribution of household disposable income, focusing on the role of tax-benefit systems, employment structures and market returns and demographic structures. Our framework extends the methodology by developing a household income distribution, which incorporates a flexible parametric approach of modelling market incomes, the complexity of tax-benefit rules through micro-simulation (EUROMOD), and the integration of the labour supply behaviours. The result is an integrated framework across countries for generating and simulating the distribution of household disposable income under alternative scenarios, thereby enabling the study of the various drivers of the cross-national distributional differences in household disposable income. We apply the method through the analysis of two European countries–the UK and Ireland–that share many similarities, while displaying at the same time sufficient differences to merit understanding more clearly of the factors that have resulted in different levels of inequality. The direct effect of the differences in tax-benefit rules between the two countries accounts for roughly half of the observed difference in income inequality. The Irish tax-benefit system is more redistributive than the UK system due to a higher tax progressivity and more generous average transfer rates. These differences are largely attributable to policy differences, but also to differences in market income distribution. Market income distributional differences reinforce the net redistributive policy effect via the market composition and demographic differences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication7th ECINEQ Meeting
EditorsFrank Cowell, Jacques Silber
Place of PublicationRoma, Italy
PublisherSociety for the Study of Economic Inequality
Pages1-48
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventProceedings of the Seventh ECINEQ meeting 2017 - City University of New York, Manhattan, United States
Duration: 17 Jul 201719 Jul 2017
http://www.ecineq.org/

Conference

ConferenceProceedings of the Seventh ECINEQ meeting 2017
Abbreviated titleECINEQ 2017
CountryUnited States
CityManhattan
Period17/07/1719/07/17
Internet address

Fingerprint

Market returns
Labor supply
Cross-national
Demography
Return policy
Income inequality
Tax
Household income
Income distribution
Income
Tax progressivity
Integrated
Employment structure
Microsimulation
Direct effect
Modeling
Scenarios
Demographics
Tax policy
Demographic structure

Cite this

Sologon, D. M., Kerm, P. V., Li, J., & O'Donoghue, C. (2017). Cross-National Differences in Income Inequality: Isolating the Roles of Demography, Market Returns, Policy and Labour Supply. In F. Cowell, & J. Silber (Eds.), 7th ECINEQ Meeting (pp. 1-48). Roma, Italy: Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
Sologon, Denisa M. ; Kerm, Philippe Van ; Li, Jinjing ; O'Donoghue, Cathal. / Cross-National Differences in Income Inequality : Isolating the Roles of Demography, Market Returns, Policy and Labour Supply. 7th ECINEQ Meeting. editor / Frank Cowell ; Jacques Silber. Roma, Italy : Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, 2017. pp. 1-48
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abstract = "Isolating the effect of various influences on income inequality is of policy importance. Traditionally, comparison studies explored the changes of inequality through the lens of summary indices. This method however, can be crude because the intertwined nature of the tax policies and the market income distribution creates a complex nonlinear pattern than cannot be fully captured by indices. We propose a unified simulation framework for exploring the drivers of the cross-national differences in the distribution of household disposable income, focusing on the role of tax-benefit systems, employment structures and market returns and demographic structures. Our framework extends the methodology by developing a household income distribution, which incorporates a flexible parametric approach of modelling market incomes, the complexity of tax-benefit rules through micro-simulation (EUROMOD), and the integration of the labour supply behaviours. The result is an integrated framework across countries for generating and simulating the distribution of household disposable income under alternative scenarios, thereby enabling the study of the various drivers of the cross-national distributional differences in household disposable income. We apply the method through the analysis of two European countries–the UK and Ireland–that share many similarities, while displaying at the same time sufficient differences to merit understanding more clearly of the factors that have resulted in different levels of inequality. The direct effect of the differences in tax-benefit rules between the two countries accounts for roughly half of the observed difference in income inequality. The Irish tax-benefit system is more redistributive than the UK system due to a higher tax progressivity and more generous average transfer rates. These differences are largely attributable to policy differences, but also to differences in market income distribution. Market income distributional differences reinforce the net redistributive policy effect via the market composition and demographic differences.",
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Sologon, DM, Kerm, PV, Li, J & O'Donoghue, C 2017, Cross-National Differences in Income Inequality: Isolating the Roles of Demography, Market Returns, Policy and Labour Supply. in F Cowell & J Silber (eds), 7th ECINEQ Meeting. Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, Roma, Italy, pp. 1-48, Proceedings of the Seventh ECINEQ meeting 2017, Manhattan, United States, 17/07/17.

Cross-National Differences in Income Inequality : Isolating the Roles of Demography, Market Returns, Policy and Labour Supply. / Sologon, Denisa M.; Kerm, Philippe Van; Li, Jinjing; O'Donoghue, Cathal.

7th ECINEQ Meeting. ed. / Frank Cowell; Jacques Silber. Roma, Italy : Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, 2017. p. 1-48.

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

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T1 - Cross-National Differences in Income Inequality

T2 - Isolating the Roles of Demography, Market Returns, Policy and Labour Supply

AU - Sologon, Denisa M.

AU - Kerm, Philippe Van

AU - Li, Jinjing

AU - O'Donoghue, Cathal

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Isolating the effect of various influences on income inequality is of policy importance. Traditionally, comparison studies explored the changes of inequality through the lens of summary indices. This method however, can be crude because the intertwined nature of the tax policies and the market income distribution creates a complex nonlinear pattern than cannot be fully captured by indices. We propose a unified simulation framework for exploring the drivers of the cross-national differences in the distribution of household disposable income, focusing on the role of tax-benefit systems, employment structures and market returns and demographic structures. Our framework extends the methodology by developing a household income distribution, which incorporates a flexible parametric approach of modelling market incomes, the complexity of tax-benefit rules through micro-simulation (EUROMOD), and the integration of the labour supply behaviours. The result is an integrated framework across countries for generating and simulating the distribution of household disposable income under alternative scenarios, thereby enabling the study of the various drivers of the cross-national distributional differences in household disposable income. We apply the method through the analysis of two European countries–the UK and Ireland–that share many similarities, while displaying at the same time sufficient differences to merit understanding more clearly of the factors that have resulted in different levels of inequality. The direct effect of the differences in tax-benefit rules between the two countries accounts for roughly half of the observed difference in income inequality. The Irish tax-benefit system is more redistributive than the UK system due to a higher tax progressivity and more generous average transfer rates. These differences are largely attributable to policy differences, but also to differences in market income distribution. Market income distributional differences reinforce the net redistributive policy effect via the market composition and demographic differences.

AB - Isolating the effect of various influences on income inequality is of policy importance. Traditionally, comparison studies explored the changes of inequality through the lens of summary indices. This method however, can be crude because the intertwined nature of the tax policies and the market income distribution creates a complex nonlinear pattern than cannot be fully captured by indices. We propose a unified simulation framework for exploring the drivers of the cross-national differences in the distribution of household disposable income, focusing on the role of tax-benefit systems, employment structures and market returns and demographic structures. Our framework extends the methodology by developing a household income distribution, which incorporates a flexible parametric approach of modelling market incomes, the complexity of tax-benefit rules through micro-simulation (EUROMOD), and the integration of the labour supply behaviours. The result is an integrated framework across countries for generating and simulating the distribution of household disposable income under alternative scenarios, thereby enabling the study of the various drivers of the cross-national distributional differences in household disposable income. We apply the method through the analysis of two European countries–the UK and Ireland–that share many similarities, while displaying at the same time sufficient differences to merit understanding more clearly of the factors that have resulted in different levels of inequality. The direct effect of the differences in tax-benefit rules between the two countries accounts for roughly half of the observed difference in income inequality. The Irish tax-benefit system is more redistributive than the UK system due to a higher tax progressivity and more generous average transfer rates. These differences are largely attributable to policy differences, but also to differences in market income distribution. Market income distributional differences reinforce the net redistributive policy effect via the market composition and demographic differences.

M3 - Conference contribution

SP - 1

EP - 48

BT - 7th ECINEQ Meeting

A2 - Cowell, Frank

A2 - Silber, Jacques

PB - Society for the Study of Economic Inequality

CY - Roma, Italy

ER -

Sologon DM, Kerm PV, Li J, O'Donoghue C. Cross-National Differences in Income Inequality: Isolating the Roles of Demography, Market Returns, Policy and Labour Supply. In Cowell F, Silber J, editors, 7th ECINEQ Meeting. Roma, Italy: Society for the Study of Economic Inequality. 2017. p. 1-48