Equivalence scales reconsidered – an empirical investigation
AbstractHouseholds can differ in size and needs. A reliable assessment of inequality in living standards, therefore, necessitates the conversion of the original heterogeneous into an artificial quasi-homogeneous population. Ebert and Moyes (2003) and Shorrocks (2004) theoretically explore the properties of two conversion strategies, i.e., to calculate household equivalent incomes and then to weight household units by their size vs. their needs. We use data from the Luxembourg Income Study for examining the sensitivity of the Gini and the Theil index to the chosen conversion strategy, and explain our results by means of an inequality decomposition by household types. Country inequality rankings are sensitive to the conversion strategy applied. The decomposition analysis reveals the underlying mechanisms. We find inequality estimates typically to be lower in the size-weighted distribution compared to needs-weighting. This is driven by relatively higher weights of large household units in case of size weighting in combination with inequality being typically below average among households with children.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 102.
Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
income distribution; inequality; inequality decomposition; equivalence scale.;
Other versions of this item:
- Bönke, Timm & Schröder, Carsten, 2007. "Equivalence scales reconsidered an empirical investigation," Discussion Papers 2007/21, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
- Bönke, Timm & Schröder, Carsten, 2007. "Equivalence scales reconsidered: an empirical investigation," Economics Working Papers 2007,31, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-02-14 (All new papers)
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