chapter  5
The distributive pattern of the Spanish economy
The impact of adjustment on inequalities
ByLuis Buendía, Ricardo Molero-Simarro, F. Javier Murillo Arroyo
Pages 26

In Chapter 5 we analyze the pattern of income and wealth distribution in Spain during the last decades. The adjustment on wages applied to address the profitability problems has increased inequality. To find the causes of this process, we focus on both personal and functional income distribution, both before and after the crisis and including the analysis of ownership structure and of the social protection system and reforms applied thereto. During the expansive phase, living conditions did not improve for most people as a result of the regressive trends that wages followed, whereas the welfare state followed an ambiguous trend of improving some (mainly gender-related) aspects while making others worse. Since the outbreak of the crisis, the adjustment has become more intense, involving also regressive welfare state reforms that have intensified the underdevelopment of the social protection system compared to that of other EU countries. Therefore, inequalities have notably increased. Our results show that the ultimate reason behind increasing inequalities is the conflict between wages and profits.