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Does Size Matter? The Impact of Changes in Household Structure on Income Distribution in Germany

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  • Andreas Peichl
  • Nico Pestel
  • Hilmar Schneider

Abstract

Income inequality in Germany has been continuously increasing during the past 20 years. In general, this is understood as an increase in inequality of wages due to changes in bargaining power of employees. However, the role of changing household structure is widely neglected. Societal trends like a decline in birth rate and an increase in the risk of divorce affect per capita incomes, which has repercussions for the income distribution even if wages remain constant. The aim of this paper is to quantify the proportion of changing household structures in the increase in inequality. We find that the rise in inequality was indeed more due to changes of household structure and employment behavior rather than changes in wages. Moreover, a large part of this increase is compensated by the welfare state.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3219.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3219

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Keywords: income distribution; demography; household size; decomposition; Germany;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. repec:nbp:journl:v:41:y:2010:i:3:p:5-34 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. KYZYMA Iryna, 2013. "Changes in the patterns of poverty duration in Germany, 1992-2009," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2013-06, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  3. Markus M. Grabka & Ursina Kuhn, 2012. "The Evolution of Income Inequality in Germany and Switzerland since the Turn of the Millennium," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 464, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. Judith Niehues & Andreas Peichl, 2011. "Lower and upper bounds of unfair inequality: Theory and evidence for Germany and the US," Working Papers 216, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  5. Jan Goebel & Markus M. Grabka, 2011. "Entwicklung der Altersarmut in Deutschland," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 80(2), pages 101-118.
  6. Jürgen Faik, 2012. "Impacts of an Ageing Society on Macroeconomics and Income Inequality: The Case of Germany since the 1980s," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 518, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2013. "Ist Deutschland wirklich so progressiv? Einkommensumverteilung im europäischen Vergleich," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 82(1), pages 111-127.
  8. Jurgen Faik & Uwe Fachinger, 2013. "The decomposition of well-being categories: An application to Germany," Working Papers 307, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  9. Regina Flake, 2012. "Multigenerational Living Arrangements among Migrants," Ruhr Economic Papers 0366, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  10. Peter Haan & Michal Myck, 2010. "Safety net still in transition: labour market incentive effects of social support in Poland and Germany," Bank i Kredyt, National Bank of Poland, Economic Institute, vol. 41(3), pages 5-34.

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