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Decomposing Inequality and Social Welfare Changes: The Use of Alternative Welfare Metrics

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  • John Creedy

    (Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne)

  • Nicolas Hérault

    ()
    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

Abstract

This paper presents two 'non-welfarist' approaches and one 'welfarist' approach to decompose changes in inequality and social welfare into three components. We distinguish the contributions of population, tax policy and labour supply behavioural effects. As an illustration, we decompose changes in inequality and in values of a social welfare function in Australia between 2001 and 2006. Inequality is first defined in non-welfarist terms as a function of disposable income: the independent judge places no value on leisure. Then this is modified to allow for evaluations using a weighted geometric mean of disposable income and leisure. This is seen to modify the evaluation of changes in important ways. Furthermore, the results are shown to be quite different from those obtained using a 'welfarist' evaluation in terms of money metric utility, where separate behavioural effects cannot be isolated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2011n08.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2011n08

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Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
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Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
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Keywords: Inequality decomposition; social welfare function; behavioural microsimulation; money metric utility;

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  1. Mercedes Sastre & Alain Trannoy, 2002. "Shapley inequality decomposition by factor components: Some methodological issues," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 51-89, December.
  2. Frank Cowell & Carlo Fiorio, 2011. "Inequality decompositions—a reconciliation," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 509-528, December.
  3. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU , Pierre & RACIONERO, Maria del mar, . "Optimal redistribution with heterogeneous preferences for leisure," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1566, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  6. Blackorby, Charles & Laisney, François & Schmachtenberg, Rolf, 1991. "Reference-price-independent welfare prescriptions," ZEW Discussion Papers 91-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Banks, James & Johnson, Paul, 1994. "Equivalence Scale Relativities Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 883-90, July.
  8. John Creedy & Nicolas Hérault & Guyonne Kalb, 2011. "Measuring welfare changes in behavioural microsimulation modelling: Accounting for the random utility component," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 5-34, May.
  9. Frédéric CHANTREUIL & Alain TRANNOY, 2011. "Inequality Decomposition Values," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 101-102, pages 13-36.
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  11. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2001. "Any Non-welfarist Method of Policy Assessment Violates the Pareto Principle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 281-286, April.
  12. Bargain, Olivier, 2009. "The distributional effects of tax-benefit policies under New Labour: a Shapley decomposition," EUROMOD Working Papers EM2/09, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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  15. Ericson, Peter & Flood, Lennart, 2009. "A Microsimulation Approach to an Optimal Swedish Income Tax," Working Papers in Economics 375, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
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  19. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Measuring Welfare Changes In Labour Supply Models," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 73(6), pages 664-685, December.
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  22. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Rosanna Scutella, 2006. "Income distribution in discrete hours behavioural microsimulation models: An illustration," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 57-76, April.
  23. Suman Seth, 2013. "A class of distribution and association sensitive multidimensional welfare indices," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 133-162, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Haan, Peter & Decoster, Andre, 2013. "Empirical welfare analysis with preference heterogeneity," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79815, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Thor O. Thoresen & Zhiyang Jia & Peter J. Lambert, 2013. "Distributional benchmarking in tax policy evaluations," Discussion Papers 765, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  3. Creedy, John, 2013. "Alternative Distributions for Inequality and Poverty Comparisons," Working Paper Series 2851, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.

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