A Big-Picture Look at Inequality

December 17, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Inequality is “big in the wonkosphere” these days, Brookings’ Richard Reeves notes, and our recently updated “Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality” provides important context on this issue.  The guide:

  • describes common sources of income data and discusses their relative strengths and limitations in understanding income and inequality trends;
  • highlights the trends that those key data sources show; and
  • gives additional information on wealth (which complements the income data as a measure of how the most well-off Americans are doing) and poverty (which measures how the least well-off Americans are doing).

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  1. clarence swinney #


  2. 2

    I suggest placing the increase of GDP per capita into this graph. Since 1979 if I remember correctly, GDP/capita increased by 67%. If a typical worker is earning maybe 20% more since 1980 and his typical labor is producing almost 70% more, when does he get laid off? Obviously he cannot purchase the value of what he’s producing and his corporation will not expand, perhaps cut-back.
    Here’s the corollary graph: http://toomuchonline.org/weeklies2013/dec022013.html
    See center of page, from Emmanuel Saez report on income distribution.

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