On Monday, May 21, 2012, the Institute hosted a seminar on income inequality in Israel, with Dr. Michael Förster , Senior Policy Analyst: Income Distribution and Poverty of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Joining Dr. Förster were three leading analysts of Israel’s economic environment, Prof. Momi Dahan of the Hebrew University’s School of Public Policy, Dr. Neri Horowitz, Chairman of the Agora Policy think tank, and Daniel Gottlieb, Deputy Director-General for Research and Planning at the National Insurance Institute.
The seminar was based on Prof. Förster’s recent publication, Divided We Stand: Income Inequality in the OECD, which explores trends in income distribution in the 34 OECD member countries. Israel featured prominently in the report, both because it is the newest member of the OECD and because it ranks among the most unequal countries in terms of income distribution.
The panelists explored the underlying reasons for Israel’s high income inequality, including technological change, government regulations, and changing tax and benefit rules. They also discussed how Israel’s social diversity—with its many distinct sub-populations of Arabs, Haredim, and others—makes it even more important to collect the right kind of data to accurately measure social change.
The seminar provided Institute staff and guests from JDC and elsewhere with thought-provoking data and new perspectives on income inequality in Israel.