septiembre 27, 2023

Global inequality of hourly income

Where do people work the most, and earn the most? Is there a link between working hours and income inequality?

Anique Ahmed compares variations in hourly income between and within countries and regions, and across income groups. The study covers 64 countries in total, with data gaps for countries in Africa. Key findings are:

  • Globally, people are working fewer hours compared to the past, with the exception of Asia, where people are working more hours over time. Europe has the lowest average working hours in the world in 2017 (a decline of 29% since 1950).
  • Despite an increase in hourly national income globally, there are significant differences in the distribution of hourly national income across regions. Among the global economies, the United States has consistently maintained one of the highest average hourly income, followed by Europe.
  • The United States have also the most unequal distribution of hourly income. It is the only region where the richest 10% earn more per hour than the middle 40%.
  • Global inequality of hourly income may be much higher than the inequality of annual income due to longer average working hours in poorer countries.



  • Anique Ahmed, Paris School of Economics