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GDP Per Family Versus Median Family Income

By Matthew Yglesias  

"GDP Per Family Versus Median Family Income"

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Lane Kenworthy, purveyor of the best policy-relevant charts on the internet but a disappointingly sporadic blogger, is doing a series of guest posts this week at Crooked Timber. I’m very much looking forward to it. His first post has this one:

whatstheproblem_figure2_version2.png

Whether or not you see this as a problem per se, it’s important to keep these facts in mind when thinking about where the United States stands in the world. For a long time, median income pretty much tracked a measure of per family GDP, so you could rely on the GDP growth rate as a decent proxy for the well-being of the typical family. But since the mid-1980s that relationship hasn’t really stood up. Another country with a lower GDP but less inequality could still be a country in which most people are richer than most Americans, and I believe there’s pretty compelling evidence that that’s now the case in a number of European countries.

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