Levels and Trends in United States Income and Its Distribution A Crosswalk from Market Income Towards a Comprehensive Haig-Simons Income Approach
AbstractRecent research on United States levels and trends in income inequality vary substantially in how they measure income. Piketty and Saez (2003) examine market income of tax units based on IRS tax return data, DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, and Smith (2012) and most CPS-based research uses pre-tax, post-transfer cash income of households, while the CBO (2012) uses both data sets and focuses on household size-adjusted comprehensive income of persons, including taxable realized capital gains. This paper provides a crosswalk of income growth across these common income measures using a unified data set. It then uses a more consistent Haig-Simons income definition approach to comprehensive income by incorporating yearly-accrued capital gains to measure yearly changes in wealth rather than focusing solely on the realized taxable capital gains that appear in IRS tax return data. Doing so dramatically reduces the observed growth in income inequality across the distribution, but most especially the rise in top-end income since 1989.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19110.
Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Note: LS PE
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
- J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2013-06-16 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2013-06-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-LTV-2013-06-16 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-PBE-2013-06-16 (Public Economics)
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