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Measuring the Trends in Inequality of Individuals and Families: Income and Consumption

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  • Jonathan D. Fisher
  • David S. Johnson
  • Timothy M. Smeeding

Abstract

We present evidence on the level of and trend in inequality from 1985-2010 in the United States, using disposable income and consumption for a sample of individuals from the Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey. Differing from the findings in other recent research, we find that the trends in income and consumption inequality are broadly similar between 1985 and 2006, but diverge during the Great Recession with consumption inequality decreasing and income inequality increasing. Given the differences in the trends in inequality in the last four years, using both income and consumption provides useful information.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 184-88

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:184-88

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.184
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  1. Stephen Jenkins & Richard Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Jeff Larrimore, 2009. "Measuring Inequality Using Censored Data: A Multiple Imputation Approach," Working Papers 09-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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Cited by:
  1. Lakner, Christoph & Milanovic, Branko, 2013. "Global income distribution : from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the great recession," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6719, The World Bank.

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