The Journal of Economic Inequality

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 221–240 | Cite as

The impact of macroeconomic conditions on income inequality

  • Markus Jäntti
  • Stephen P. Jenkins


This paper analyzes the relationship between macroeconomic factors and the income distribution using data on equivalized disposable household income from the United Kingdom for 1961–99. We argue in favour of fitting a parametric functional form to the income distribution for each year, and then modeling the time series of model parameters in terms of the macroeconomic factors, as this better allows us to take into account non-stationarity in the time series. Estimates from models that relate income distribution parameters to cyclical variables in first differences (to account for non-stationarity) suggest that neither inflation nor unemployment have significant effects on income inequality. Compared to the commonly-used method of modelling the income shares directly, our approach indicates that there was no clear cut relationship between macroeconomic factors and the UK income distribution during the last third of the twentieth century.


Inequality Unemployment Inflation Singh-Maddala 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swedish Institute for Social ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Institute for Social and Economic ResearchUniversity of EssexColchesterUK

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