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Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality$
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Henry Phelps Brown

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198286481.001.0001

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The Redistribution of Income

The Redistribution of Income

Chapter:
(p.325) 12 The Redistribution of Income
Source:
Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality
Author(s):

Henry Phelps Brown

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198286481.003.0013

The redistribution of income by way of taxes and benefits has proved to be a powerful instrument of social policy in the twentieth century. The transformation of the standard of living in Western countries has been made possible only by the advance of productivity; but the market forces that have distributed these gains among the working population have not of themselves helped those who, for whatever reason, are unable to work. These people have always depended for subsistence on transfers within the household and the community, but it is the national system of transfer developed in more recent years that has enabled them to share in the general advance: more widely, many households of lower income have gained from an excess of benefits received over tax paid. This chapter examines the evidence for the extent of redistribution. It has four sections, the first looking at the measurement of redistribution in principle and practice, and the last three looking at redistribution in the UK (the longest analysis), Sweden, and the USA.

Keywords:   benefits, income distribution, redistribution, social policy, Sweden, taxes, UK, USA

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