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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

In Germany, two observations can be made over the past 20 years: First, income inequality has been constantly increasing while, second, the average household size has been declining dramatically. The analysis of income distribution relies on equivalence-weighted incomes which take into account household size. Therefore, there is an obvious link between these two developments. The aim of the paper is to quantify how the trend towards smaller households has influenced the change in income distribution. In order to do so, we are using a decomposition of changes in inequality measures over time allowing for a separation between wage and demographic effects respectively. We propose similar decompositions for the change in poverty and richness as well and compare them with results that were obtained by a re-weighting procedure. Our results show that the income gap would also have increased without the demographic trend. But its level would be lower than it actually is. In addition, the demographic effect turns out to be larger for incomes before tax and benefits.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 280.

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Length: 37 p.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp280

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

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References

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  1. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
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  3. Olympia Bover, 2010. "Wealth Inequality And Household Structure: U.S. Vs. Spain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(2), pages 259-290, 06.
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  5. Bargain, Olivier & Callan, Tim, 2007. "Analysing the effects of tax-benefit reforms on income distribution: a decomposition approach," EUROMOD Working Papers EM5/07, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  6. Stephen Jenkins & Philippe Kerm, 2005. "Accounting for income distribution trends: A density function decomposition approach," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 43-61, April.
  7. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2003. "Equivalence Scales Reconsidered," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 319-343, January.
  8. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2009. "From Bottom To Top: The Entire Income Distribution In Germany, 1992-2003," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 303-330, 06.
  9. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-25, April.
  10. Mookherjee, Dilip & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1982. "A Decomposition Analysis of the Trend in UK Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 886-902, December.
  11. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: a Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  12. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  13. Peichl, Andreas & Schaefer, Thilo & Scheicher, Christoph, 2006. "Measuring Richness and Poverty," FiFo Discussion Papers - Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 06-11, University of Cologne, FiFo Institute for Public Economics.
  14. Markus M. Grabka, 2007. "Codebook for the $PEQUIV File 1984-2006: CNEF Variables with Extended Income Information for the SOEP," Data Documentation 21, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  15. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
  16. Andreas Peichl, 2007. "Measuring richness," German Stata Users' Group Meetings 2007 06, Stata Users Group.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Jürgen Faik, 2012. "Impacts of an Ageing Society on Macroeconomics and Income Inequality – The Case of Germany since the 1980s," Working Papers 272, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  3. Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2012. "Ist Deutschland wirklich so progressiv? Einkommensumverteilung im europäischen Vergleich," IZA Standpunkte 53, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. repec:nbp:journl:v:41:y:2010:i:3:p:5-34 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Jan Goebel & Markus M. Grabka, 2011. "Entwicklung der Altersarmut in Deutschland," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 378, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  9. KYZYMA Iryna, 2013. "Changes in the patterns of poverty duration in Germany, 1992-2009," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2013-06, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  10. 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.

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