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Data in SocietyChallenging Statistics in an Age of Globalisation$
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Jeff Evans, Sally Ruane, and Humphrey Southall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447348214

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447348214.001.0001

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The ‘distribution question’: measuring and evaluating trends in inequality

The ‘distribution question’: measuring and evaluating trends in inequality

(p.187) 14 The ‘distribution question’: measuring and evaluating trends in inequality
Data in Society

Stewart Lansley

Policy Press

This chapter examines the role played by key data sets and statistical analysis in the growing debate about inequality in the UK and elsewhere. It reviews the evidence from studies of long term trends in the share of top incomes in the UK and other countries, and the remarkable impact of the findings on the politics of the inequality debate. It shows the way the studies came to challenge key aspects of prevailing economic orthodoxy, and their profound influence on public awareness of how the economic cake is shared. It then examines the revived debate around the impact of rising inequality on economic growth and stability. Finally, it draws some lessons from the way UK official statistics on inequality have been used by government in the national debate about trends in the income gap.

Keywords:   inequality, distribution, ‘U-curve`, poverty, Gini coefficient

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