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Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study

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  • Andrea Brandolini
  • Anthony B. Atkinson

Abstract

This paper examines the role of secondary data-sets in empirical economic research, taking the field of income distribution as a case study. We illustrate problems faced by users of "secondary" statistics, showing how both cross-country comparisons and time-series analysis can depend sensitively on the choice of data. After describing the genealogy of secondary data-sets on income inequality, we consider the main methodological issues and discuss their implications for comparisons of income inequality across OECD countries and over time. The lessons to be drawn for the construction and use of secondary data-sets are summarized at the end of the paper.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jel.39.3.771
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 39 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 771-799

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:39:y:2001:i:3:p:771-799

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.39.3.771
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  1. Patrick Van Houdt, 1997. "Do Labor Market Policies and Growth Fundamentals Matter for Income Inequality in Oecd Countries? Some Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 97/3, International Monetary Fund.
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  11. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "Inequality and development A critique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-43, June.
  12. Ahluwalia, Montek S, 1976. "Income Distribution and Development: Some Stylized Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 128-35, May.
  13. Della Valle, Philip A & Oguchi, Noriyoshi, 1976. "Distribution, the Aggregate Consumption Function, and the Level of Economic Development: Some Cross-Country Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1325-34, December.
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