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The Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being United States, 1989-2001

  • Edward N. Wolff

    (New York University
    Bard College)

  • Ajit Zacharias

    (Bard College)

The picture of economic well-being depends crucially on how it is measured. We introduce a new measure of economic well-being that includes public consumption, income from wealth, and household production. The differences in scope and method between our measure and standard income lead to substantially different findings regarding economic well-being. The average U.S. household appears to be much better off in 2001 relative to 1989 according to our measure in comparison to money income. In contrast to official measures, our measure shows that racial disparity increased. The increase in measured inequality was higher than indicated by the official measures.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume33/V33N4P443_470.pdf
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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 33 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 443-470

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:33:y:2007:i:4:p:443-470
Contact details of provider: Postal: c/o Dr. Alexandre Olbrecht, The Anisfield School of Business 205, Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road, Ramapo, New Jersey 07430, USA
Phone: (201) 684-7346
Web page: http://www.ramapo.edu/eea/journal.htmlEmail:


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  1. Ruggles, Patricia & O'Higgins, Michael, 1981. "The Distribution of Public Expenditure among Households in the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 27(2), pages 137-64, June.
  2. Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2003. "The Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_372, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Landefeld, J Steven & McCulla, Stephanie H, 2000. "Accounting for Nonmarket Household Production within a National Accounts Framework," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(3), pages 289-307, September.
  4. Shujie Yao, 1999. "On the decomposition of Gini coefficients by population class and income source: a spreadsheet approach and application," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(10), pages 1249-1264.
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