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Income risk, income mobility and welfare

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  • Krebs, Tom
  • Krishna, Pravin
  • Maloney, William F.

Abstract

This paper develops a framework for the quantitative analysis of individual income dynamics, mobility and welfare. Individual income is assumed to follow a stochastic process with two (unobserved) components, component representing measurement error or transitory income shocks and an Autoregressive (AR(1)) component representing persistent changes in income. The analysis uses a tractable consumption-saving model with labor income risk and incomplete markets to relate income dynamics to consumption and welfare, and derive analytical expressions for income mobility and welfare as a function of the various parameters of the underlying income process. The empirical application of the framework using data on individual incomes from Mexico provides striking results. Much of measured income mobility is driven by measurement error or transitory income shocks and therefore (almost) welfare-neutral. A smaller part of measured income mobility is due to either welfare-reducing income risk or welfare-enhancing catching-up of low-income individuals with high-income individuals, both of which have economically significant effects on social welfare. Decomposing mobility into its fundamental components is thus seen to be crucial from the standpoint of welfare evaluation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6254.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6254

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Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Inequality; Labor Policies; Roads&Highways; Income;

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  1. Felix Kubler & Karl Schmedders, 2000. "Incomplete Markets, Transitory Shocks, and Welfare," Discussion Papers 1285, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Gary Fields & Paul Cichello & Samuel Freije & Marta Menéndez & David Newhouse, 2003. "For Richer or for Poorer? Evidence from Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, and Venezuela," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 67-99, April.
  3. Peter T. Gottschalk & Enrico Spolaore, 2000. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," JCPR Working Papers 185, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  4. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," NBER Working Papers 14768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Tom Krebs, 2007. "Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 664-686, June.
  6. Geweke, John & Marshall, Robert C & Zarkin, Gary A, 1986. "Mobility Indices in Continuous Time Markov Chains," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1407-23, November.
  7. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
  8. Gallant, A. Ronald, 1975. "Seemingly unrelated nonlinear regressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 35-50, February.
  9. Bénabou, Roland & Ok, Efe A, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: the POUM Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1955, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Hugo Ñopo & Giorgina Pizzolitto & José Cuesta, 2007. "Using Pseudo-Panels to Measure Income Mobility in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4557, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Michael Baker & Gary Solon, 1999. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality among Canadian Men, 1976-1992: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Records," NBER Working Papers 7370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Papers 168, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  14. Dang, Hai-Anh & Lanjouw, Peter & Luoto, Jill & McKenzie, David, 2014. "Using repeated cross-sections to explore movements into and out of poverty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 112-128.
  15. Antman, Francisca & McKenzie, David J., 2005. "Earnings mobility and measurement error : a pseudo-panel approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3745, The World Bank.
  16. Dardanoni Valentino, 1993. "Measuring Social Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 372-394, December.
  17. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
  18. Chiara Binelli & Orazio Attanasio, 2010. "Mexico in the 1990s: the Main Cross-Sectional Facts," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 238-264, January.
  19. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  20. Tom Krebs, 2004. "Welfare Cost of Business Cycles When Markets Are Incomplete," Working Papers 2004-08, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  21. Cruces, Guillermo & Lanjouw, Peter & Lucchetti, Leonardo & Perova, Elizaveta & Vakis, Renos & Viollaz, Mariana, 2011. "Intra-generational mobility and repeated cross-sections : a three-country validation exercise," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5916, The World Bank.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Much of observed income mobility is measurement error
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-03-20 14:19:00

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