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Distributional Effects of Imputed Rents in Five European Countries

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Author Info

  • Frick, Joachim R.
  • Grabka, Markus M.
  • Smeeding, Timothy M.
  • Tsakloglou, Panos

Abstract

Most empirical distributional studies of well-being in developed countries rely on distributions of disposable income. From a theoretical point of view this practice is contentious since a household’s command over resources is determined not only by its spending power over commodities it can buy in the market but also on resources available to the household members through non-market mechanisms such as the in-kind provisions of the welfare state and the value of private non-cash incomes. In developed market economies the most important private non-cash income component is imputed rent from owner-occupied or subsidized accommodation. Employing a wider definition of imputed rent that also allows the analyst to capture income advantages among tenants living in rent-subsidized accommodations of various sorts (including rent-free or reduced-rent households), the present paper examines the differential effects of including imputed rents in the concept of resources in five European countries (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy and the UK). The results suggest that in almost all cases, the inclusion of imputed rents in the concept of resources leads to a decline in measured levels of inequality and poverty. The main beneficiaries are outright homeowners and households living in rent-free (or heavily subsidized) accommodation—most often older persons. The inclusion of imputed rents in the concept of resources does not lead to substantial changes in the ranking of the countries according to their level of inequality, despite widespread differences in the rates of home ownership and subsidization across the countries studied here. --

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ZBW - German National Library of Economics in its journal EconStor Open Access Articles.

Volume (Year): (2010-09)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 167-179

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Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:67388

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Keywords: Home ownership; Income in-kind; Imputed rent; Income distribution;

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References

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  1. Frank Cowell, 1998. "Measurement of inequality," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2084, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Paulus, Alari & Sutherland, Holly & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2009. "The Distributional Impact of In Kind Public Benefits in European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 4581, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Timothy Smeeding & Barbara Boyle Torrey & Jonathon Fisher & David S. Johnson & Joseph Marchand, 2006. "No Place Like Home: Older Adults and Their Housing," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-16, Center for Retirement Research.
  4. Fisher, Johathan & Johnson, David & Marchand, Joseph & Smeeding, Timothy & Boyle Torrey, B., 2009. "Identifying the Poorest Older Americans," Working Papers 2009-3, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  5. Antonia Diaz & Maria J. Luengo-Prado, 2006. "On The User Cost And Homeownership," Economics Working Papers we065421, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  6. Joachim R. Frick & Markus M. Grabka, 2001. "Der Einfluß von Imputed Rent auf die personelle Einkommensverteilung," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 221(3), pages 285-308.
  7. Leonardo Gasparini & Walter Sosa Escudero, 2004. "Implicit Rents from Own-Housing and Income Distribution: Econometric Estimates for Greater Buenos Aires," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0014, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  8. Randal Verbrugge & Thesia I. Garner, 2009. "Reconciling User Costs and Rental Equivalence: Evidence from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey," Working Papers 427, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  9. Dougherty, Ann & Van Order, Robert, 1982. "Inflation, Housing Costs, and the Consumer Price Index," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 154-64, March.
  10. Torrey, Barbara Boyle & Smeeding, Timothy M & Bailey, Debra, 1999. "Income Transitions in Central European Households," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 237-57, January.
  11. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2005. "Owner-Occupied Housing as a Hedge Against Rent Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 763-789, May.
  12. Katherine A. Kiel & Jeffrey E. Zabel, 1999. "The Accuracy of Owner-Provided House Values: The 1978-1991 American Housing Survey," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 263-298.
  13. Atkinson, Tony & Cantillon, Bea & Marlier, Eric & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253494.
  14. Yates, Judith, 1994. "Imputed Rent and Income Distribution," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(1), pages 43-66, March.
  15. Onrubia, Jorge & Rodado, M. Carmen & Ayala, Luis, 2009. "How do services of owner-occupied housing affect income inequality and redistribution?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 224-232, September.
  16. Joachim R. Frick & Jan Goebel & Markus M. Grabka, 2007. "Assessing the Distributional Impact of "Imputed Rent" and "Non-cash Employee Income" in Microdata: Case Studies Based on EU-SILC (2004) and SOEP (2002)," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 2, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  17. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  18. Garner, Thesia I. & Short, Kathleen, 2009. "Accounting for owner-occupied dwelling services: Aggregates and distributions," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 233-248, September.
  19. Randal Verbrugge, 2009. "The Puzzling Divergence of Rents and User Costs, 1980-2004," Working Papers 422, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  20. Smeeding, Timothy M & Weinberg, Daniel H, 2001. "Toward a Uniform Definition of Household Income," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(1), pages 1-24, March.
  21. Peter Saunders & Peter Siminski, 2005. "Home Ownership And Inequality: Imputed Rent And Income Distribution In Australia," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 24(4), pages 346-367, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christos Koutsampelas & Panos Tsakloglou, 2012. "The distribution of full income in Greece," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 03-2012, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  2. Joachim R. Frick & Markus M. Grabka, 2009. "Accounting for Imputed and Capital Income Flows in Income Inequality Analyses," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 254, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Paulus, Alari & Sutherland, Holly & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2009. "The Distributional Impact of In Kind Public Benefits in European Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 4581, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Garner, Thesia I. & Short, Kathleen, 2009. "Accounting for owner-occupied dwelling services: Aggregates and distributions," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 233-248, September.
  5. Gerlinde Verbist & Michael Föster & Vaalavou, M., 2013. "GINI DP 74: The Impact of Publicly Provided Services on the Distribution of Resources: Review of New Results and Methods," GINI Discussion Papers 74, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  6. repec:ese:iserwp:2009-33 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Figari, Francesco & Paulus, Alari & Sutherland, Holly & Tsakloglou, Panos & Verbist, Gerlinde & Zantomio, Francesca, 2012. "Taxing Home Ownership: Distributional Effects of Including Net Imputed Rent in Taxable Income," IZA Discussion Papers 6493, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Randal Verbrugge & Thesia I. Garner, 2009. "Reconciling User Costs and Rental Equivalence: Evidence from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey," Working Papers 427, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  9. Christos Koutsampelas, 2012. "Immigration and Poverty: Findings from Cyprus," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 13-2012, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  10. Christos Koutsampelas & Panos Tsakloglou, 2013. "The distribution of full income in Greece," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 40(4), pages 311-330, April.

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