Income Inequality and Redistribution in Canada: 1976 to 2004 Heisz, Andrew

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Heisz, Andrew
Income distribution - Canada - Statistics.; Polarization (Social sciences); Poverty - Canada - Statistics.
Using data from the 1976 to 1997 Survey of Consumer Finances and the 1993 to 2004 Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, we examine developments in family income inequality, income polarization, relative low income, and income redistribution through the tax-transfer system. We conclude that family after-tax-income inequality was stable across the 1980s, but rose during the 1989 to 2004 period. Growth in family after-tax-income inequality can be due to an increase in family market-income inequality (pre-tax, pre-transfer), or to a reduction in income redistribution through the tax-transfer system. We conclude that the increase in inequality was associated with a rise in family market-income inequality. Redistribution was at least as high in 2004 as it was at earlier cyclical peaks, but it failed to keep up with rapid growth in family market-income inequality in the 1990s. We present income inequality, polarization, and low-income statistics for several well-known measures, and use data preparations identical to those used in the Luxembourg Income Study in order to facilitate international comparisons.
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