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Trends in the Level and Distribution of U.S. Living Standards: 1973-1993

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  • Gary Burtless

    (Brookings Institution)

Abstract

Various measures of the improvement in U.S. living standards provide contrasting pictures of the pace of overall economic progress. Per capita consumption rose 37 percent from 1973 to 1993, but median family income was unchanged. This paper accounts for the striking divergence between these alternative measures. Average consumption rose faster than median cash income because saving fell, consumption financed from noncash income sources rose, family size shrank, and income inequality climbed sharply. The paper documents the importance of rising wage inequality and the surprising increase in the correlation between husband and wife earnings in the trend toward greater family income inequality.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume22/V22N3P271_290.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 22 (1996)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 271-290

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:22:y:1996:i:3:p:271-290

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Postal: c/o Dr. Alexandre Olbrecht, The Anisfield School of Business 205, Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Ramapo, New Jersey 07430, USA
Phone: (201) 684-7346
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Web page: http://www.ramapo.edu/eea/journal.html
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Related research

Keywords: Distribution; Income; Inequality; Living Standards;

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Cited by:
  1. Maria Cancian & Deborah Reed, 1999. "The impact of wives’ earnings on income inequality: Issues and estimates," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 173-184, May.
  2. Barry Bluestone & Teresa Ghilarducci, . "Making Work Pay, Wage Insurance for the Working Poor," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive, Levy Economics Institute ppb_28, Levy Economics Institute.

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