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Inequality Trends in Sweden 1978-2004

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  • David Domeij

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Martin Floden

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

We document a clear increase in Swedish earnings inequality in the early 1990s, and that much of this increase was generated by movements in and out of the labor market. Inequality in disposable income and earnings net of taxes and transfers also increased, but much less than the increased inequality in pre-government earnings. These different developments are most likely explained by the generous Swedish welfare system. Consistent with these observations, we see no clear trend in consumption inequality. We also estimate stochastic processes for household earnings. A simple random-walk process captures much of the life-cycle dynamics. But we find clear evidence that the true earnings process is not a random walk. We demonstrate that some estimation methods result in severe upward bias in the estimated volatility of permanent shocks if serial correlation in temporary shocks is ignored. Our estimation results show that the increase in earnings inequality is almost entirely driven by an increase in residual earnings inequality. Moreover, this increase was mostly generated by an increased volatility of persistent shocks. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2009.10.005
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 179-208

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:09-203

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Related research

Keywords: Income inequality; Consumption inequality; Stochastic earnings process;

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References

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  1. Agell, Jonas & Englund, Peter & Södersten, Jan, 1996. "Tax Reform of the Century - The Swedish Experiment," Working Paper Series 1996:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," NBER Working Papers 13394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L, 2004. "The Cross-Sectional Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 4296, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Nordström Skans, Oskar & Edin, Per-Anders & Holmlund, Bertil, 2006. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within Plants: Sweden 1985-2000," Working Paper Series 2006:18, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Domeij, David, 2006. "Rising Earnings Inequality in Sweden: The Role of Composition and Prices," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 639, Stockholm School of Economics.
  6. Per-Anders Edin & Bertl Holmlund, 1993. "The Swedish Wage Stucture: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Wage Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Anders Bohlmark & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Replication and Extension for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 879-900, October.
  8. David Domeij & Paul Klein, 2002. "Private Pensions: To What Extent Do They Account for Swedish Wealth Inequality?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 503-534, July.
  9. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter, 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Working Paper Series 2000:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  10. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2008. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Skedinger, Per, 2007. "The Design and Effects of Collectively Agreed Minimum Wages: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 700, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  12. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jesper Roine & Daniel Waldenström, 2012. "On The Role Of Capital Gains In Swedish Income Inequality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(3), pages 569-587, 09.
  2. Fabrizio Perri & Joe Steinberg, 2012. "Inequality and redistribution during the Great Recession," Economic Policy Paper 12-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Virginia Maestri & Roventini, A. (Andrea), 2012. "GINI DP 30: Stylized Facts on Business Cycles and Inequality," GINI Discussion Papers 30, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  4. Moritz Drechsel-Grau & Kai Daniel Schmid, 2013. "Consumption-Savings Decisions under Upward Looking Comparisons: Evidence from Germany, 2002-2011," IMK Working Paper 118-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  5. Jeremy Lise & Nao Sudo & Michio Suzuki & Ken Yamada & Tomoaki Yamada, 2013. "Wage, Income and Consumption Inequality in Japan, 1981-2008: from Boom to Lost Decades," Working Papers 2013-011, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  6. Gabriele Ballarino & Francesco Bogliacino & Michela Braga & Massimiliano Bratti & Daniele Checchi & Antonio Filippin & Virginia Maestri & Elena Meschi & Francesco Scervini, 2012. "GINI Intermediate Report WP 3: Drivers of Growing Inequality," GINI Discussion Papers wp3, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  7. Virginia Maestri & Andrea Roventini, 2012. "Inequality and Macroeconomic Factors: A Time-Series Analysis for a Set of OECD Countries," Working Papers 34/2012, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  8. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," NBER Working Papers 15483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2010. "Automatic Stabilizers, Economic Crisis and Income Distribution in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 4917, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Heshmati, Almas & Rudolf, Robert, 2013. "Income vs. Consumption Inequality in South Korea: Evaluating Stochastic Dominance Rankings by Various Household Attributes," IZA Discussion Papers 7731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Nao Sudo & Michio Suzuki & Tomoaki Yamadai, 2012. "Inequalities in Japanese Economy during the Lost Decades," CARF F-Series CARF-F-284, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  12. Klein, Paul & Telyukova, Irina A., 2013. "Measuring high-frequency income risk from low-frequency data," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 535-542.

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