Decomposing the Composition Effect
AbstractThis paper proposes a decomposition of the composition effect, i.e. the part of the observed between-group difference in the distribution of some economic outcome that can be explained by differences in the distribution of covariates. Our decomposition contains three types of components: (i) the "direct contributions" of each covariate due to between-group differences in the respective marginal distributions, (ii) several “two way” and "higher order" interaction effects due to the interplay between two or more covariates' marginal distributions, and (iii) a "dependence effect" accounting for between-group differences in dependence patterns among the covariates. Our methods can be used to decompose differences in arbitrary distributional features, like quantiles or inequality measures, and allows for general nonlinear relationships between the outcome and the covariates. It can easily be implemented in practice using standard econometric techniques. An application to wage data from the US illustrates the empirical relevance of the decomposition’s components.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6397.
Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
- C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
- C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-ECM-2012-03-21 (Econometrics)
- NEP-LTV-2012-03-21 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
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