Recent History in Full: Was there a Lull before the Storm?
This chapter discusses the evolution of the distribution of earnings in recent decades in the US, Canada, and eastern and western Europe. The data show that the late 1960s and 1970s were a period of earnings compression in a number of countries (Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom); there was not a lull before the storm, and the falls in the bottom decile after 1980 can be seen as a part reversal of the 1970s compression. In many countries, there has been a steady upward movement since 1980 in the top decile (Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States). The finding of a fanning out at the top is evident for Australia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The three Eastern European countries all showed a move towards increased earnings dispersion with the transition to a market economy, but there are differences, with dispersion being less, and more stable, in the Czech Republic than in Hungary and Poland.
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