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22 Comp. Pol. Stud. 3 (1989-1990)

handle is hein.journals/compls22 and id is 1 raw text is: 

In recent years a large number of cross-national studies have examined the causes and
consequences of income inequality within nations. Unfortunately, few of these studies
have attended very carefully to problems of measurement and definitional consistency
that can seriously undermine the comparative use of currently available data on income
shares. This article offers a discussion of the major theoretical and practical problems that
can arise in measuring and comparing patterns of income distribution across nations,
focusing on the completeness of income coverage, the unit of analysis, the time period over
which income is measured, the scope of population coverage, the underreporting of
income, and the effect of public sector fiscal policies. It then assesses major published
sources of cross-national data on the size distribution of income in light of these problems.
Finally, the article offers several suggestions for minimizing the negative consequences of
measurement problems that remain in even the best available data on income shares.

                         INCOME DISTRIBUTION

                                    WITHIN NATIONS

                         Problems of Cross-National


                                          VINCENT A. MAHLER
                                      Loyola  University  of Chicago

   Income distribution has long been one of the central concerns of
      comparative  politics. In recent years the perennial questions of the
political origins and impact of income inequality increasingly have been
explored  in the context of broad  cross-national studies examining  a
wide range  of countries. In considering the developed market economy
countries, the most common  focus has been on the political determinants
of cross-national variation in income  inequality, and there is a very
sizable literature on the impact of tax and transfer policies, the political
orientation of governments,  the relative prominence  of labor unions,
and  the extent of social protest on patterns of distribution (see, for
example,  Borg  and  Castles, 1982; Katz et al., 1983; and Swank   and

COMPARATIVE   POLITICAL STUDIES, Vol. 22 No. 1, April 1989 3-32
o 1989 Sage Publications, Inc.


from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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