Redistributional Policy in Rich Countries: Institutions and Impacts in Nonelderly Households

Posted: 7 Sep 2018

See all articles by Janet C. Gornick

Janet C. Gornick

The Graduate Center / City University of New York; Luxembourg Income Study (LIS)

Timothy M. (Tim) Smeeding

Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

We review research on institutions of redistribution operating in high-income countries. Focusing on the nonelderly, we invoke the concept of the household income package, which includes income from labor, from related households, and from the state. Accordingly, we assess three institutional arenas: predistribution (rules and regulations that govern paid work), private redistribution (interhousehold transfers), and conventional public redistribution (operating via cash transfers and direct taxes). In each arena, we assess underlying policy logics, identify current policy controversies, summarize contemporary cross-national policy variation, and synthesize existing findings on policy effects. Our assessment of redistributional effects focuses on three core socioeconomic outcomes: low pay, child poverty, and income inequality. We close by assessing how the three institutional arenas perform collectively and by calling for further work on how these institutions change over time and how they affect subgroups differentially.

Suggested Citation

Gornick, Janet C. and Smeeding, Timothy M. (Tim), Redistributional Policy in Rich Countries: Institutions and Impacts in Nonelderly Households (July 2018). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 44, pp. 441-468, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3245748 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-073117-041114

Janet C. Gornick

The Graduate Center / City University of New York ( email )

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Timothy M. (Tim) Smeeding (Contact Author)

Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

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