Over the last decades, many industrialized countries experienced a rise in economic inequality and important changes in families, comprising demographic (the increase of singles) and economic (the growth of female employment) aspects. This comparative paper studies to what extent institutions - family, state and market - shape inequality by (re)redistributing income between families and whether changes in the family are responsible for increased economic inequality. Empirical analyses focus on five countries (Denmark, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and United States) belonging to different welfare state regimes, from the mid-’80s to the mid-’2000s. The paper shows that institutions play an important role for inequality, and individuals’ and families’ economic well-being, although with important variations between regimes. However, family changes did not drive inequality in disposable household income.
Keywords: Family, institutions, economic inequality, welfare state regimes