Trends in Income Inequality and its Impact on Economic Growth

OECD Social, Employement and Migration Working Papers

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Date Published 2014
Primary Author Federico Cingano
Other Authors
Theme Housing Finance Subsidies


In most OECD countries, the gap between rich and poor is at its highest level since 30 years. Today, the richest 10 per cent of the population in the OECD area ea rn 9.5 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent; in the 1980s this ratio stood at 7:1 and has been rising continuously ever since. However, the rise in overall income inequality is not (only) about surging top income shares: often, incomes at the bottom grew much slower during the prosperous years and fell during downturns, putting relative (and in some countries, absolute) income poverty on the radar of policy concerns.This paper explores whether such developments may have an impact on economic performance.

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