Chapter 1: Introduction
Issues of income distribution, economic development and growth are back on the economics research agenda, at least since the Great Recession (2008–09) and the difficulties of recovery of the world economy, in particular in the Euro area. This is true not only for research output based on heterodox approaches, as for example more recently Galbraith (2012), Hein (2012a), Palley (2012a, 2013a), Stockhammer (2012a, 2012b) and Stockhammer and Onaran (2013), as well as the contributions in Niechoj et al. (2011) and Lavoie and Stockhammer (2013a), have shown. It is also true for contributions rooted in mainstream research methods and approaches, as for example Rajan (2010) and Stiglitz (2012) have demonstrated. Furthermore, international institutions, for example the OECD (2008, 2011, 2012a, chap. 3), the ILO (2012) and the UNCTAD (2012), as well as authors based at the IMF, for example Berg et al. (2008), Kumhof and Ranciere (2010), Berg and Ostry (2011), Kumhof et al. (2012) and Ostry et al. (2014), have stressed the issue and the importance of income distribution recently. Whereas data on functional income distribution, that is on wage and profit shares, are directly available from the national accounts, reliable data on the personal or household distribution of income are more difficult to obtain, because they are usually based on household and consumer surveys.