Working Paper No. 1166

Global Earnings Inequality, 1970–2015

Published: May 5, 2017, revised June 2017Pages: 68Keywords: Global inequality; Development; Inequality decomposition; Labor marketsJEL-codes: D31; F01; O15

Global Earnings Inequality, 1970–2015 Olle Hammar and Daniel Waldenström


We estimate trends in global earnings dispersion across occupational groups using a new database covering 66 developed and developing countries between 1970 and 2015. Our main finding is that global earnings inequality has declined, primarily during the 2000s, when the global Gini coefficient dropped nearly 10 points and the earnings share of the world’s poorest half doubled. Decomposition and counterfactual analyses emphasize the role of earnings convergence between countries and within occupations, with a special role played by Chinese and agricultural earnings growth. Sensitivity checks show that the results are robust to varying real exchange rates, inequality measures and population definitions.

Daniel Waldenström

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Ph: +33-754844839
Mob: +46 70 4916082
daniel.waldenstrom@if...

Olle Hammar

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Mob: +46 70 435 93 07
olle.hammar@nek.uu.se

An Agenda for Europe

Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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The authors of this book, Niklas Elert, Magnus Henrekson and Mikael Stenkula, advise the economies of the European Union to become more entrepreneurial in promoting innovation and economic growth. The authors propose a reform strategy with respect to several aspects to achieve this goal.

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