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From International Labour Organization

World of Work Report 2008
Income Inequality in the age of Financial Globalization

The ongoing global economic slowdown is aff ecting low-income groups disproportionately. Th is development comes aft er a long expansionary phase where income inequality was already on the rise in the majority of countries.
● The recent period of economic expansion was accompanied by substantial employment growth across most regions. Between the early 1990s and 2007, world employment grew by around 30 per cent. However, there was considerable variation in labour market performance between countries. In addition, not all individuals shared equally in the employment gains. In a number of regions, women continued to represent a disproportionate share of non-employed persons – reaching nearly 80 per cent in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia and the Pacific.
● Employment growth has also occurred alongside a redistribution of income away from labour. In 51 out of 73 countries for which data are available, the share of wages in total income declined over the past two decades. Th e largest decline in the share of wages in GDP took place in Latin America and the Caribbean (-13 points), followed by Asia and the Pacifi c (-10 points) and the Advanced Economies (-9 points).
● Between 1990 and 2005, approximately two thirds of the countries experienced an increase in income inequality (as measured by changes in the Gini index). In other words, the incomes of richer households have increased relative to those of poorer households. Likewise, during the same period, the income gap between the top and bottom 10 per cent of wage earners increased in 70 per cent of the countries for which data are available.
● The gap in income inequality is also widening – at an increasing pace – between the fi rms’ executives and the average employee. For example, in the United States in 2007, the chief executive offi cers (CEOs) of the 15 largest companies earned 500 times more than the average worker. Th is is up from 360 times more in 2003. Even in Hong Kong (China) and South Africa where executives are paid much less than their United States’ counterparts, CEO pay still represents 160 and 104 times, respectively, the wages of the average worker.
Contents        Preface- Editorial
Chapter 1. Trends in employment and inequality
Main findings
A. Overview of recent developments and employment trends
B. Trends in income inequality
C. Why is income inequality a matter of policy concern? 
D. Bottom line and rationale for the next chapters
Appendix A. Regional country groupings
Appendix B. Calculation methods for wage dispersion, wage shares,
productivity and real wage growth

Chapter 2. The role of financial globalization
Main findings
A. Development of financial globalization and wealth inequality
B. Financial markets and pro-poor growth
C. Financial globalization, union bargaining power and the wage share
D. Financial globalization and the convergence of capitalisms
E. Corporate governance and executive pay
F. Policy considerations
Appendix A. The impact of financial market crises on growth and inequality:
An empirical assessment 
Appendix B. Empirical studies regarding pay for performance 

Chapter 3. Labour institutions and inequality
Main findings
A. Review of earlier studies
B. Cross-country patterns of labour institutions and income inequality
C. Policy considerations
Appendix A. Measures of labour institutions
Appendix B. Do labour institutions reduce inequality? An econometric analysis
Appendix C. Is the inequality-reduction eff ect of industrial relations institutions withering away in advanced countries?

Chapter 4. Changing employment patterns
Main findings
A. No clear link between income inequality and employment growth
B. Rising non-standard employment as a factor of income inequality
C. Policy considerations

Chapter 5. Redistribution through taxes and social transfers
Main findings
A. Social transfers, taxation and income inequality: what are the trends?
B. To what extent do taxes and social transfers shape income distribution?
C. Policy considerations

Chapter 6. Decent Work as a coherent policy package
A. Links between Decent Work and income inequality
B. Policy coherence
C. Areas for further analysis

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