Inequality Among European Working Households, 1890-1960

38 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2018

See all articles by Ian Gazeley

Ian Gazeley

University of Sussex

Rose Holmes

University of Sussex

Andrew Newell

University of Sussex - School of Social Sciences & Cultural Studies; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Kevin P Reynolds

University of Sussex

Hector Gutierrez Rufrancos

University of Sussex

Abstract

In this article we map, for the first time, the time-path of the size distribution of income among working class households in Western Europe, 1890-1960. To do this we exploit data extracted from a large number of newly digitised household expenditure surveys. Many are not representative of the population, or even of their target-subpopulation, as methods of social investigation were initially primitive, though rapidly evolving over this period. We overcome the consequent problem of comparability by exploiting our knowledge of the methods used by early social investigators to estimate of the scale of known biases.For some we have the original household data, but in most cases we have tables by income group. One by-product of this work is an evaluation of the range of estimation methods for distributional statistics from these historical tables of grouped data. Our central finding is that inequality among working households does not follow the general downward trend in inequality for the early part of the century found in labour share and top income studies. Contrary to Kuznets' prediction, our evidence suggests that on average income inequality among European working households remained stable for three generations from the late nineteenth century onwards.

Keywords: inequality, working households, Europe, 20th century

JEL Classification: N33, N34, O15

Suggested Citation

Gazeley, Ian and Holmes, Rose and Newell, Andrew T. and Reynolds, Kevin P and Gutierrez Rufrancos, Hector, Inequality Among European Working Households, 1890-1960. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11355. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3137485

Ian Gazeley (Contact Author)

University of Sussex ( email )

Sussex House
Falmer
Brighton, Sussex BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/history/profile985.html

Rose Holmes

University of Sussex

Sussex House
Falmer
Brighton, BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

Andrew T. Newell

University of Sussex - School of Social Sciences & Cultural Studies ( email )

Falmer, Brightonm BN1 9QN
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1273 606755 (Phone)
+44 (0)1273 673563 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Kevin P Reynolds

University of Sussex ( email )

Hector Gutierrez Rufrancos

University of Sussex

Sussex House
Falmer
Brighton, BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

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