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The Covariance Structure of East and West German Incomes and its Implications for the Persistence of Poverty and Inequality

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  • Biewen, Martin

    ()
    (University of Tuebingen)

Abstract

Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), this paper analyzes the dynamics of equivalent income in Germany in the eighties and nineties. Special emphasis is given to the separation of permanent and transitory components, the persistence of transitory shocks and their implications for the persistence of poverty and income inequality. The results suggest that 52 to 69 percent of income inequality in West Germany were due to permanent differences between individuals and that poor individuals stayed in poverty for two years on average. In East Germany, the contribution of the permanent component to overall income inequality increased from 20 percent in 1990 to over 70 percent in 1998 and the persistence of poverty rose accordingly. The paper also looks at the special situation of population subgroups such as lone mothers, ‘double income no kids’ households, couples with children and pensioners.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 459.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: German Economic Review, 2005, 6 (4), 445-469
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp459

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Keywords: mobility; poverty; covariance structure; inequality;

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References

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  1. Biewen, Martin, 2000. "Income Inequality in Germany during the 1980s and 1990s," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 1-19, March.
  2. Ann Huff Stevens, 1995. "Climbing Out of Poverty, Falling Back In: Measuring the Persistence of Poverty over Multiple Spells," NBER Working Papers 5390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. repec:ese:iserwp:2000-41 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978. "Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
  5. Francesco Devicienti, 2001. "Estimating Poverty Persistence in Britain," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 B2-3, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  6. repec:wop:humbsf:1997-77 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Martin Biewen, 2002. "The Covariance Structure of East and West German Incomes and its Implications for the Persistence of Poverty and Inequality," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 292, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Dickens, Richard, 2000. "The Evolution of Individual Male Earnings in Great Britain: 1975-95," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 27-49, January.
  9. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  10. Franz, Wolfgang & Steiner, Viktor, 1999. "Wages in the East German transition process: facts and explanations," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-40, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. Fouarge, Didier & Muffels, Ruud, 2000. "Persistent poverty in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK," MPRA Paper 13297, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Grabka, Markus M. & Schwarze, Johannes & Wagner, Gert G., 1999. "How Unification and Immigration Affected the German Income Distribution," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 867-878.
  13. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  14. repec:ese:iserwp:2001-15 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  16. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  17. Schluter, Christian, 1998. "Statistical inference with mobility indices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 157-162, May.
  18. Martin Biewen, 2001. "Measuring the Effects of Socio-Economic Variables on the Income Distribution: An Application to the East German Transition Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 185-190, February.
  19. M. Burda & C. Schmidt, 1997. "Getting Behind The East-West Wage Differential: Theory and Evidence," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1997,77, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
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