NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Branko Milanovic

City University of New York

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: City University of New York

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2020In Search of the Roots of American Inequality Exceptionalism: An Analysis Based onLuxembourg Income Study (LIS) Data
with Janet C. Gornick, Nathaniel Johnson
in Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Janet C. Gornick, Barry Johnson, and Arthur Kennickell, editors
Earlier work has established that the US has exceptionally high inequality of disposable household income (i.e., income after accounting for taxes and transfers). There is a debate whether it is due to an unusually high inequality of market (pre-tax-pre-transfer) income or to weak redistribution. In this paper, we look more deeply at market income inequality, focusing on its main component – labor income – across a group of 24 OECD countries. We disaggregate the working-age population into household types, defined by the number and gender of the household’s earners and the partnership and parenting status of its members. We conclude that within-group inequality of labor incomes in the US is, in almost all groups, high by OECD standards. The roots of US inequality exceptionalism are not to ...
October 2007Measuring Ancient Inequality
with Peter H. Lindert, Jeffrey G. Williamson: w13550
Is inequality largely the result of the Industrial Revolution? Or, were pre-industrial incomes and life expectancies as unequal as they are today? For want of sufficient data, these questions have not yet been answered. This paper infers inequality for 14 ancient, pre-industrial societies using what are known as social tables, stretching from the Roman Empire 14 AD, to Byzantium in 1000, to England in 1688, to Nueva España around 1790, to China in 1880 and to British India in 1947. It applies two new concepts in making those assessments -- what we call the inequality possibility frontier and the inequality extraction ratio. Rather than simply offering measures of actual inequality, we compare the latter with the maximum feasible inequality (or surplus) that could have been extracted by th...
March 2007Does Tariff Liberalization Increase Wage Inequality? Some Empirical Evidence
with Lyn Squire
in Globalization and Poverty, Ann Harrison, editor
January 2005Does Tariff Liberalization Increase Wage Inequality? Some Empirical Evidence
with Lyn Squire: w11046
The objective of the paper is to answer an often-asked question : if tariff rates are reduced, what will happen to wage inequality ? We consider two types of wage inequality : between occupations (skills premium), and between industries. We use two large data bases of wage inequality that have become recently available and a large dataset of average tariff rates all covering the period between 1980 and 2000. We find that tariff reduction is associated with higher inter-occupational and inter-industry inequality in poorer countries (those below the world median income) and the reverse in richer countries. The results for inter-occupational inequality though must be treated with caution.
 
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