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Inflation Inequality In The United States

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  • Bart Hobijn
  • David Lagakos

Abstract

Different spending patterns across households and differences in price increases across goods and services lead to unequal levels of inflation faced by different households. In this paper we measure the degree of inequality in inflation across U.S. households for the period 1987-2000. The broad picture that emerges from our results is that over our whole sample period there are substantial differences in the inflation experiences across U.S. households. We find that the cost of living increases were generally higher for the elderly, in large part because of their health care expenditures, and that the cost of living of poor households is most sensitive to the, historically large, fluctuations in gasoline prices. Still, when looking at the whole population, we find that individual households that are confronted with high inflation in one year do not generally face high inflation in the subsequent year as well. Copyright 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Bart Hobijn & David Lagakos, 2005. "Inflation Inequality In The United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(4), pages 581-606, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:51:y:2005:i:4:p:581-606
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Robert T. Michael, 1975. "Variation Across Household in the Rate of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 0074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Berndt Ernst R. & Cockburn Iain M. & Cocks Douglas L. & Epstein Arnold M. & Griliches Zvi, 1998. "Is Price Inflation Different for the Elderly? An Empirical Analysis of Prescription Drugs," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-45, January.
    8. Pollak, Robert A, 1980. "Group Cost-of-Living Indexes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 273-278, May.
    9. Quah, Danny, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," CEPR Discussion Papers 1586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Bart Hobijn & David Lagakos, 2003. "Social security and the consumer price index for the elderly," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(May).
    11. Quah, Danny T, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 27-59, March.
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