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45

Learning from History

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B. Atkinson, A. (2015). Learning from History. In B. Atkinson, A. Inequality: What Can Be Done?. Harvard University Press, pp. 45-81

59

[...] in the labour market "the most important change was the influx of women into the job market, particularly of married women with children." In 1947, one-fifth (22 per cent) or married women (living with their husbands) were in the paid labour force; thirty years later, the figure was close to one-half (47 per cent). [...] In the immediate postwar perod, it appears that increased participation enhanced the earnings of households in the lower part of the distribution. Summarising the postwar US experience, Nan Maxwell writes that "for husband-wife families prior to 1970, equalizing impacts stem from relatively high participation rates of women married to low-earning men." However, after 1970, "increased participation came mainly from women with above-average earnings growth who were married to high-earning men. Hence, continued increased female labor force participation may increase inequality for dual-earning husband-wife families."

two waves: initially, only the women who really NEEDED to work (to complement their husband's low income) did so; in the second wave, more women who didn't really need to work (because their husband made enough money) but wanted to increase their income by a substantial amount (because they could get good jobs) started working

—p.59 by Anthony B. Atkinson 2 years, 5 months ago

[...] in the labour market "the most important change was the influx of women into the job market, particularly of married women with children." In 1947, one-fifth (22 per cent) or married women (living with their husbands) were in the paid labour force; thirty years later, the figure was close to one-half (47 per cent). [...] In the immediate postwar perod, it appears that increased participation enhanced the earnings of households in the lower part of the distribution. Summarising the postwar US experience, Nan Maxwell writes that "for husband-wife families prior to 1970, equalizing impacts stem from relatively high participation rates of women married to low-earning men." However, after 1970, "increased participation came mainly from women with above-average earnings growth who were married to high-earning men. Hence, continued increased female labor force participation may increase inequality for dual-earning husband-wife families."

two waves: initially, only the women who really NEEDED to work (to complement their husband's low income) did so; in the second wave, more women who didn't really need to work (because their husband made enough money) but wanted to increase their income by a substantial amount (because they could get good jobs) started working

—p.59 by Anthony B. Atkinson 2 years, 5 months ago
77

From this account, it is clear that the relationship between unemployment and inequality is an intricate one [...] Nonetheless, involuntary unemployment is of concern in its own right, and for this reason alone it receives considerable attention in what follows. Unemployment, and attendant job precariousness, are themselves sources of inequality. A person rejected by the labour market is suffering a form of social exclusion, and even if full income replacement were to allow his or her standard of living to be maintained during unemployment, the individual's circumstances would have worsened. Above all, it is a matter of agency and a sense of powerlessness. [...]

depends on whether there's good unemployment insurance etc

—p.77 by Anthony B. Atkinson 2 years, 5 months ago

From this account, it is clear that the relationship between unemployment and inequality is an intricate one [...] Nonetheless, involuntary unemployment is of concern in its own right, and for this reason alone it receives considerable attention in what follows. Unemployment, and attendant job precariousness, are themselves sources of inequality. A person rejected by the labour market is suffering a form of social exclusion, and even if full income replacement were to allow his or her standard of living to be maintained during unemployment, the individual's circumstances would have worsened. Above all, it is a matter of agency and a sense of powerlessness. [...]

depends on whether there's good unemployment insurance etc

—p.77 by Anthony B. Atkinson 2 years, 5 months ago
79

With the qualification that we have insufficient information about incomes at the top, we see in Latin America an episode of falling inequality that extends over a wide range of countries. [...] "there is no clear link between the decline in inequality and economic growth. Inequality has declined in countries which have experienced rapid economic growth, such as Chile, Panama, and Peru, and in countries with low-growth spells, such as Brazil and Mexico. Nor is there a link between falling inequality and the orientation of political regimes. Inequality has declined in countries governed by leftist regimes, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela, and in countries governed by centrist and center-right parties, such as Mexico and Peru." Rather, they suggest that the fall was brought about by a reduction in the wage premium for more educated workers, and by progressive government transfers.

skilled workers need to stop making so much more than unskilled, and there needs to be a safety net

—p.79 by Anthony B. Atkinson 2 years, 5 months ago

With the qualification that we have insufficient information about incomes at the top, we see in Latin America an episode of falling inequality that extends over a wide range of countries. [...] "there is no clear link between the decline in inequality and economic growth. Inequality has declined in countries which have experienced rapid economic growth, such as Chile, Panama, and Peru, and in countries with low-growth spells, such as Brazil and Mexico. Nor is there a link between falling inequality and the orientation of political regimes. Inequality has declined in countries governed by leftist regimes, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela, and in countries governed by centrist and center-right parties, such as Mexico and Peru." Rather, they suggest that the fall was brought about by a reduction in the wage premium for more educated workers, and by progressive government transfers.

skilled workers need to stop making so much more than unskilled, and there needs to be a safety net

—p.79 by Anthony B. Atkinson 2 years, 5 months ago