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I found an OECD study that looks at income growth for the top 10% and the bottom 10%, between the mid-1980s and the late 2000s. It seems reasonable to assume that if the income of the rich is growing much faster than the income of the poor, then inequality is increasing, and vice versa. So rather than look at all countries, let’s focus on those where the difference is significant, say more than 1% per annum. There are 12 countries where the rich did much better than the poor, headed by Sweden:

Country Top 10% Bottom 10% Gap


Sweden	2.4% 0.4% 2.0%Israel	 2.8% 0.8% 2.0%Britain	 2.5% 0.9% 1.6%Germany 1.6% 0.1% 1.5%Australia 4.5% 3.0% 1.5%New Zealand 2.5% 1.1% 1.4%Luxembourg 2.9% 1.5% 1.4%USA 1.5% 0.1% 1.4%Norway 2.7% 1.4% 1.3%Finland 2.5% 1.2% 1.3%Czech R 3.0% 1.8% 1.2%Holland 1.6% 0.5% 1.1%


And there were four countries where income got much more equal:


Portugal 1.1% 3.6% (2.5%)Greece 1.8% 3.4% (1.6%)Spain 2.5% 3.9% (1.4%)Ireland 2.5% 3.9% (1.4%)





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Wow, I guess the economies in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Ireland must really be humming along. We should pattern ourselves after them, maybe?


Another interesting takeaway is that the US had the smallest increase in income among the top 10% of any country in your short summation other than Portugal. Appears to me that distribution is not the key issue but rather growth in all incomes (or lack thereof).

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