Inequality and Poverty in the United States [E-Book]: Public Policies for Inclusive Growth / Oliver Denk ... [et al]
Denk, Oliver.
Hagemann, Robert. / Lenain, Patrick. / Somma, Valentin.
Paris : OECD Publishing, 2013
76 p. ; 21 x 29.7cm.
OECD Economics Department Working Papers ; 1052
Social Issues/Migration/Health
United States
Full Text
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520 3 |a Income inequality and relative poverty in the United States are among the highest in the OECD and have substantially increased over the past decades. These developments have been associated with a number of other worrying statistics, including low intergenerational social mobility and weak real income growth for many households. A more inclusive pattern of growth would require less pronounced gaps in outcomes and opportunities across social groups and a broader sharing of the benefits of growth. The present paper analyses the causes of US income inequality and relative poverty in an OECD context, especially the role of the tax-and-transfer system, and suggests public policies to promote inclusive growth. To a significant degree, high income inequality is attributable to the large dispersion of earned income, which should be addressed by reforming education, so as to provide disadvantaged students with the skills needed to fully realise their potential. In addition, taxes and transfers contribute less to income redistribution than in other OECD countries. If well designed, reforms that promote inclusive growth could also help reduce the market distortions resulting from the current tax-and-transfer system. In particular, phasing out personal and corporate tax expenditures that disproportionately benefit high earners would lower income inequality and improve resource allocation. As well, social transfers could be more effective in alleviating poverty through better targeting of the truly needy while reducing administrative complexity. 
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