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Distributional Characteristics of Income Insecurity in the U.S., Germany, and Britain

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  • Nicholas Rohde
  • Kam Ki Tang
  • D.S. Prasada Rao

Abstract

This paper studies income volatility using recent data from the Cross National Equivalence File (CNEF). Measures of downward instability are applied to household income streams and the results are interpreted as indicators of income insecurity. Using this method we examine (i) cross national differences in average insecurity levels, (ii) the effects of taxes and transfers, and (iii) relationships between the insecurity index and household income. Insecurity estimates based on pre-government incomes are highest in Britain and lowest in Germany, however results for post-government incomes are highest in the U.S. It is also shown that insecurity estimates based upon pre-government incomes are heavily concentrated at the lower end of the distribution; although governments are effective at smoothing the income streams of these households. We also search for determinants of our measure and find that gender, household size, health status, and industry affiliations of the household head are the most significant covariates.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Rohde & Kam Ki Tang & D.S. Prasada Rao, 2014. "Distributional Characteristics of Income Insecurity in the U.S., Germany, and Britain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 159-176, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:60:y:2014:i:s1:p:s159-s176
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/roiw.12089
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    Cited by:

    1. Rohde, Nicholas & Tang, K.K. & Osberg, Lars & Rao, Prasada, 2016. "The effect of economic insecurity on mental health: Recent evidence from Australian panel data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 250-258.
    2. Walter Bossert & Conchita D'Ambrosio, 2016. "Economic insecurity and variations in resources," Working Papers 422, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Gustav Kjellsson & Dennis Petrie & Tom (T.G.M.) van Ourti, 2018. "Measuring income-related inequalities in risky health prospects," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-007/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Staudigel, Matthias, 2016. "A soft pillow for hard times? Economic insecurity, food intake and body weight in Russia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 198-212.
    5. Staudigel, Matthias, 2015. "A soft pillow for hard times: Effects of economic insecurity on body weight in transitional Russia," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205189, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Smith, Trenton G. & Stillman, Steven & Craig, Stuart, 2017. "'Rational Overeating' in a Feast-or-Famine World: Economic Insecurity and the Obesity Epidemic," IZA Discussion Papers 10954, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Romina Boarini & Lars Osberg, 2014. "Economic Insecurity: Editors' Introduction," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 1-4, May.

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