Accounting for changes in income inequality: decomposition analyses for the UK, 1978-2008

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 15, 2016


We analyse income inequality in the UK from 1978 to 2009 in order to understand why income inequality rose very rapidly from 1978 to 1991 but then remained broadly unchanged. We find that inequality in earnings among employees has risen fairly steadily since 1978, but other factors that caused income inequality to rise before 1991 have since gone into reverse. Inequality in investment and pension income has fallen since 1991, as has inequality between those with and without employment. Furthermore, certain household types – notably the elderly and those with young children – which had relatively low incomes in the period to 1991 have seen their incomes converge with others.

Published in

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 78 , p.289 -322






Open Acess article

© 2015 The Authors. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics published by Oxford University and JohnWiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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