Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Welfare-states boast greatest income equality, social mobility

Income inequality has grown substantially in many developed nations in the last 20 years despite continued economic growth, a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found. Denmark and Sweden registered the smallest disparities in national income wealth, while the United States recorded among the largest (see graph, bottom) in the 30-country survey.

Reasons for the widening gulf between rich and poor include "changes in the labour market" which have eroded the quality of employment opportunities for low-skilled workers. Wealth redistribution via taxation has helped defray living costs associated with necessities, but may not be adequate as a substitute for good jobs. The OECD suggests that "welfare-in-work" programs -- receiving an income subsidy while working crap jobs -- could help make up the difference between what employers are willing to pay and what is required to mitigate poverty, at least in the interim before adequate employment is realized.

No comments: