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Income Mobility in the United States and Germany: A Comparison of Two Classes of Mobility Measures using the GSOEP, PSID, and CPS

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  • Andrew J. Houtenville

Abstract

The United States is often considered to be more free-wheeling and mobile than Germany; however, previous cross-national studies of income mobility find the oppositeis true. This paper investigates these surprising results and finds that they are confirmed when income mobility is measured by changes in the positions of individuals inthe income distribution - members of former West German households are more income mobile than Americans. However, when income mobility is measured by absolute movements in income, Americans are found to be more income mobile than members of former West German households.

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  • Andrew J. Houtenville, 2001. "Income Mobility in the United States and Germany: A Comparison of Two Classes of Mobility Measures using the GSOEP, PSID, and CPS," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(1), pages 59-65.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwvjh:70-10-9
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.3790/vjh.70.1.59
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard V. Burkhauser & John G. Poupore, 1997. "A Cross-National Comparison Of Permanent Inequality In The United States And Germany," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 10-17, February.
    2. Schluter, Christian, 1998. "Income dynamics in Germany, the USA and the UK: evidence from panel data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6527, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Zandvakili, Sourushe, 1986. "A class of generalized measures of mobility with applications," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 97-102.
    4. Christian Schluter, 1998. "Income Dynamics in Germany, the USA and the UK: Evidence from Panel Data," CASE Papers case08, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    5. Fields, Gary S. & Ok, Efe A., 1996. "The Meaning and Measurement of Income Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 349-377, November.
    6. Rolf Aaberge & Anders Björklund & Markus Jäntti & Mårten Palme & Peder J. Pedersen & Nina Smith & Tom Wennemo, 2002. "Income Inequality and Income Mobility in the Scandinavian Countries Compared to the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(4), pages 443-469, December.
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