Macroeconomic conditions, inequality shocks and the politics of redistribution, 1990–2013

Pontusson, Jonas; Weisstanner, David (2018). Macroeconomic conditions, inequality shocks and the politics of redistribution, 1990–2013. Journal of European public policy, 25(1), pp. 31-58. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/13501763.2017.1310280

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This contribution explores common trends in inequality and redistribution across Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries from the late 1980s to 2013. Low-end inequality rises during economic downturns while rising top-end inequality is associated with economic growth. Most countries retreated from redistribution from the mid-1990s until the onset of the Great Recession, and compensatory redistribution in response to rising unemployment was weaker in 2008–2013 than in the first half of the 1990s. As unemployment and poverty risk have become increasingly concentrated among workers with low education, middle-income opinion has become more permissive of cuts in unemployment insurance generosity and income assistance to the poor. At constant generosity, the expansion of more precarious forms of employment reduces compensatory redistribution during downturns because temporary employees do not have the same access to unemployment benefits as permanent employees.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Weisstanner, David


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Taylor & Francis




David Weisstanner

Date Deposited:

02 May 2018 12:39

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:12

Publisher DOI:





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