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Richardson, David & Denniss, Richard: Income and wealth inequality

Richardson, David & Denniss, Richard

Income and Wealth Inequality in Australia: Policy Brief No. 64, July 2014, The Australia Institute, Canberra

Inequality between those with the most and those with the least is rising in Australia. Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but there are many people in our society who are falling behind. The nature and extent of inequality is the choice of policy makers. We have the capacity to either reduce inequality or to exacerbate it. Tackling inequality is a political choice, not an economic problem. (blurb)

Concise paper with tables and graphs. Sections cover public opinion about inequality, personal income distribution, rising CEO remuneration, wealth distribution, sources of income, profit and wages shares of national income, redistributive role of the state, political implications of inequality, gender inequality, low income earners by electorate, and government income support, indexation and poverty.

Includes some historical graphs, one going back to 1960 (profit share of GDP rising from about 23 per cent to about 35 per cent in 50 years). It draws heavily on the work of Joseph Stiglitz, makes passing reference to Thomas Piketty’s work and adds to a flood of recent material on inequality in Australia, some of which includes historical context. Recent work comes from Oxfam, Christopher Sheil (with links to discussion of Piketty and Evatt Foundation’s work on inequality), Advance Australia Fair? (Canberra Roundtable), Joseph Stiglitz, John Menadue. and Alan Austin and commenters.