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Labor income dynamics and the insurance from taxes, transfers, and the family

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  • Blundell, Richard
  • Graber, Michael
  • Mogstad, Magne

Abstract

What do labor income dynamics look like over the life-cycle? What is the relative importance of persistent shocks, transitory shocks and heterogeneous profiles? To what extent do taxes, transfers and the family attenuate these various factors in the evolution of life-cycle inequality? In this paper, we use rich Norwegian population panel data to answer these important questions. We let individuals with different education levels have a separate income process; and within each skill group, we allow for non-stationarity in age and time, heterogeneous experience profiles, and shocks of varying persistence. We find that the income processes differ systematically by age, skill level and their interaction. To accurately describe labor income dynamics over the life-cycle, it is necessary to allow for heterogeneity by education levels and account for non-stationarity in age and time. Our findings suggest that the redistributive nature of the Norwegian tax–transfer system plays a key role in attenuating the magnitude and persistence of income shocks, especially among the low skilled. By comparison, spouse's income matters less for the dynamics of inequality over the life-cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Blundell, Richard & Graber, Michael & Mogstad, Magne, 2015. "Labor income dynamics and the insurance from taxes, transfers, and the family," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 58-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:127:y:2015:i:c:p:58-73
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2014.04.011
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income dynamics; Insurance; Life cycle inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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