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Deconstructing Income and Income Inequality Measures: A Crosswalk from Market Income to Comprehensive Income

Author

Listed:
  • Philip Armour
  • Richard V. Burkhauser
  • Jeff Larrimore

Abstract

Recent research on levels and trends in the United States in income inequality vary substantially in how they measure income. We show the sensitivity of alternative income measures in capturing income trends using a unified data set. Focusing solely on market income or including realized taxable capital gains based on IRS tax return data in more comprehensive household income measures will dramatically increase inequality growth compared to capital gains measures more in keeping with Haig-Simons principles. Using a measure of yearly accrued capital gains dramatically reduces observed growth in income inequality across the distribution, but also equalizes income growth since 1989.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Armour & Richard V. Burkhauser & Jeff Larrimore, 2013. "Deconstructing Income and Income Inequality Measures: A Crosswalk from Market Income to Comprehensive Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 173-177, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:173-77
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.173
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/ds/may2013/P2013_2851_ds.zip
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen P. Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2012. "Recent Trends in Top Income Shares in the United States: Reconciling Estimates from March CPS and IRS Tax Return Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 371-388, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John Komlos, 2016. "Growth of income and welfare in the U.S, 1979-2011," NBER Working Papers 22211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gutiérrez C., Pablo & López, Ramón E. & Figueroa B., Eugenio, 2015. "Top income measurement and undistributed profits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 138-140.
    3. Bruce D. Meyer & Nikolas Mittag, 2015. "Using Linked Survey and Administrative Data to Better Measure Income: Implications for Poverty, Program Effectiveness and Holes in the Safety Net," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 15-242, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    4. Jeff Larrimore & Richard V. Burkhauser & Philip Armour, 2013. "Accounting for Income Changes over the Great Recession (2007-2010) Relative to Previous Recessions: The Importance of Taxes and Transfers," NBER Working Papers 19699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Edward N. Wolff, 2016. "Deconstructing Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1983 - 2013," NBER Working Papers 22704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Richard V. Burkhauser & Nicolas Hérault & Stephen P. Jenkins & Roger Wilkins, 2016. "What has Been Happening to UK Income Inequality Since the Mid-1990s? Answers from Reconciled and Combined Household Survey and Tax Return Data," NBER Working Papers 21991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:12:p:1147-1163 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ivan Kitov & Oleg Kitov, 2015. "Gender income disparity in the USA: analysis and dynamic modelling," Papers 1510.02752, arXiv.org.
    9. Christoph Lakner & Branko Milanovic, 2016. "Global Income Distribution: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Great Recession," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 203-232.
    10. Meyer, Bruce D. & Mittag, Nikolas, 2017. "Using Linked Survey and Administrative Data to Better Measure Income: Implications for Poverty, Program Effectiveness and Holes in the Safety Net," IZA Discussion Papers 10943, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Metzing, Maria & Bartels, Charlotte, 2016. "An integrated approach for top-corrected Ginis," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145818, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Eswar S Prasad, 2014. "Distributional Effects of Macroeconomic Policy Choices in Emerging Market Economies," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 62(3), pages 409-429, August.
    13. Andrew Hussey & Michael Jetter, 2017. "Long term trends in fair and unfair inequality in the United States," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(12), pages 1147-1163, March.
    14. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2016n5 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Jonathan Fisher & David S. Johnson & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2015. "Inequality of Income and Consumption in the U.S.: Measuring the Trends in Inequality from 1984 to 2011 for the Same Individuals," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(4), pages 630-650, December.
    16. Ramón E. López & Eugenio Figueroa B. & Pablo Gutiérrez C., 2016. "Fundamental accrued capital gains and the measurement of top incomes: an application to Chile," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 14(4), pages 379-394, December.
    17. Bruce Meyer & Nikolas Mittag, 2017. "Using Linked Survey and Administrative Data to Better Measure Income: Implications for Poverty, Program Effectiveness and Holes in the Safety Net," Working Papers 2017-075, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    18. John A. Bishop & Jonathan M. Lee & Lester A. Zeager, 2014. "The Great Recession and U.S. partial discrimination orderings by race," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 3(3), pages 146-155.
    19. Richard Burkhauser & Markus Hahn & Roger Wilkins, 2015. "Measuring top incomes using tax record data: a cautionary tale from Australia," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(2), pages 181-205, June.
    20. Yan Lau & Harvey S. Rosen, 2015. "Are Universities Becoming More Unequal?," Working Papers 245, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    21. Yan Lau & Harvey S. Rosen, 2015. "Are Universities Becoming More Unequal?," NBER Working Papers 21432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Ravaska Terhi, 2018. "Top incomes and income dynamics from a gender perspective : Evidence from Finland 1995-2012," Working Papers 1822, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
    23. repec:oup:apecpp:v:39:y:2017:i:3:p:387-406. is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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