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Photo: Doron Golan, Yedioth Ahronoth

OECD: Inequality in Israel similar to US

Official report issued by international economic organization places Jewish state among four countries with highest gap between rich and poor - alongside US, UK and Mexico

The gap between rich and poor in Israel is among the highest of OECD countries, according to a special report released Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


"The study shows us the widening gaps in certain countries," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.


According to the report, the gap between the average income of the richest 10% of earners in Israel and the United States was 14 times that of the bottom decile, compared to 10 times in Britain and six times in Germany and Denmark.


The report, which examined earnings in each of the OECD's 34 member countries and took more than two years to complete, based its measurements on the Gini coefficient, where countries are ranked between a figure of zero where everyone earns the same to one where the richest person has all the income.


The OECD stressed that in order to reduce the gap in income levels, countries must increase competition and create a more convenient labor market by advancing part-time workers and flexible working hours.


Israel and the US have been considered the Western countries with the widest gaps for the past 20 years, but previous studies usually placed Israel second after the US, while the current one points to an identical level of inequality.


An extensive survey conducted by the National Insurance Institute among some 5,000 Israeli families, revealed that one-third of Israelis give up on food in order to purchase other products and commodities.


In addition, almost one-quarter of respondents admitted that they are forced to seek the help of friends and family in order to obtain food.


Reuters contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 12.06.11, 08:44
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