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Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study

  • Andrea Brandolini
  • Anthony B. Atkinson

This paper examines the role of secondary data-sets in empirical economic research, taking the field of income distribution as a case study. We illustrate problems faced by users of "secondary" statistics, showing how both cross-country comparisons and time-series analysis can depend sensitively on the choice of data. After describing the genealogy of secondary data-sets on income inequality, we consider the main methodological issues and discuss their implications for comparisons of income inequality across OECD countries and over time. The lessons to be drawn for the construction and use of secondary data-sets are summarized at the end of the paper.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jel.39.3.771
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 39 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 771-799

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:39:y:2001:i:3:p:771-799
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.39.3.771
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  1. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
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  9. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Roberti, Paolo, 1974. "Income Distribution: A Time-Series and a Cross-Section Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(335), pages 629-38, September.
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  12. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A, 1993. "Immigrant Selectivity and Wages: The Evidence for Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 986-93, September.
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