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Using The Pareto Distribution To Improve Estimates Of Topcoded Earnings

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  • Philip Armour
  • Richard V. Burkhauser
  • Jeff Larrimore

Abstract

Inconsistent censoring in the public-use March Current Population Survey (CPS) limits its usefulness in measuring labor earnings trends. Using Pareto estimation methods with less-censored internal CPS data, we create an enhanced cell-mean series to capture top earnings in the public-use CPS. We find that previous approaches for imputing topcoded earnings systematically understate top earnings. Annual earnings inequality trends since 1963 using our series closely approximate those found by Kopczuk, Saez, & Song (2010) using Social Security Administration data for commerce and industry workers. However, when we consider all workers, earnings inequality levels are higher but earnings growth is more modest
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Suggested Citation

  • Philip Armour & Richard V. Burkhauser & Jeff Larrimore, 2016. "Using The Pareto Distribution To Improve Estimates Of Topcoded Earnings," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 1263-1273, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:54:y:2016:i:2:p:1263-1273
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecin.12299
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Rauh, Christopher, 2017. "Voting, education, and the Great Gatsby Curve," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 1-14.
    3. Porro Francesco, 2014. "How We Can Evaluate the Inequality in Flint," Stochastics and Quality Control, De Gruyter, vol. 29(2), pages 119-128, December.
    4. Greselin Francesca, 2014. "More Equal and Poorer, or Richer but More Unequal?," Stochastics and Quality Control, De Gruyter, vol. 29(2), pages 99-117, December.

    More about this item

    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
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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