We study earnings and income inequality in Britain over the past two decades, including the period of relatively “inclusive” growth from 1997-2004 and the Great Recession. We focus on the middle 90%, where trends have contrasted strongly with the “new inequality” at the very top. Household earnings inequality has risen, driven by male earnings – although a ‘catch-up’ of female earnings did hold down individual earnings inequality and reduce within-household inequality. Nevertheless, net household income inequality fell due to deliberate increases in redistribution, the tax and transfer system’s insurance role during the Great Recession, falling household worklessness, and rising pensioner incomes.
Richard is Co-Director of the Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy (CPP) and Senior Research Fellow at IFS.
Robert is a Deputy Director. His work focuses on economic inequality, labour markets and welfare policy.
Jonathan is an Associate Director and Head of Retirement, Savings and Ageing sector, focusing on pensions, savings and economic activity in later life
Working Paper details
- The IFS
Belfield, C et al. (2017). Two decades of income inequality in Britain: the role of wages, household earnings and redistribution. London: The IFS. Available at: https://ifs.org.uk/publications/two-decades-income-inequality-britain-role-wages-household-earnings-and-redistribution (accessed: 11 December 2023).
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