The Poor, Internationally


A very interesting Lane Kenworthy post looks at the divergence between developed countries where the poor have shared in economic growth over the past 30 years and those in which they haven’t. He finds that before taxes and transfers, things look very similar:

In other words, large scale trends have turned against higher earnings for the bottom ten percent pretty much everywhere. Whatever the source of that—technological, economic, sociological—you see it very widely. What’s differed is the policy response. In some countries, as the pie has grown, the state has made sure to give more slices to the neediest. In others, the state hasn’t done so. There are a number of ideological implications of this, but I think this adds up to a very hard to assail case for “spreading the wealth around.”