ESRI Research Bulletin

Ireland’s Household Worklessness and Working-Age Market Income Inequality

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

December 17, 2021
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International comparisons of countries with similar economic development and wealth show that Ireland’s level of income inequality is close to average when measured by household disposable income, that is, after social transfers and income tax. However, the picture is very different when focusing on market income, that is, before redistribution of social transfers and income tax. Measured this way, Ireland’s inequality level is among the highest in Europe. Ireland is also distinctive in having a relatively high share of jobless households compared to other European countries. In this article we explore the link between the two: to what extent does household joblessness explain Ireland’s relatively high market income inequality?