IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/fip/fedmqr/y1997isprp3-21nv.21no.2.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth

Author

Listed:
  • Javier Diaz-Gimenez
  • Vincenzo Quadrini
  • Jose-Victor Rios-Rull

Abstract

This article describes some facts about financial inequality in the United States that a good theory of inequality must be able to explain. These include the facts that labor earnings, income, and wealth are all unequally distributed among U.S. households, but the distributions are significantly different. Wealth is much more concentrated than the other two. Wealth is positively correlated with earnings and income, but not strongly. The movement of households up and down the economic scale is greater when measured by income than by earnings or wealth. Differences across the three variables remain when the data are disaggregated by age, employment status, educational level, and marital status of the heads of U.S. households. Each of these classifications also has significant differences across households. All the facts are based on data taken from the 1992 Survey of Consumer Finances and the 1984?85 and 1989?90 Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 21(Spr), pages 3-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1997:i:spr:p:3-21:n:v.21no.2
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/common/pub_detail.cfm?pb_autonum_id=134
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/QR/QR2121.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1996. "Life-Cycle Economies and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 465-489.
    2. John C. Weicher, 1995. "Changes in the distribution of wealth: increasing inequality?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 5-23.
    3. Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1995. "Unemployment spells and income distribution dynamics," Working Papers 95-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    4. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1992. "Aggregate Consumption and Saving in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 585-597, November.
    5. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Family Finance in the U.S.: Recent Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), vol. 83(1), pages .1-24, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. George Korres & Emmanuel Marmaras & George Tsobanoglou, 2004. "A note on poverty, inequality and growth," ERSA conference papers ersa04p500, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Feigenbaum, James, 2008. "Can mortality risk explain the consumption hump?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 844-872, September.
    3. John Geanakoplos & Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, "undated". "Social Security Money's Worth," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-20, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    4. Axel Börsch‐Supan & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2006. "Ageing, Pension Reform and Capital Flows: A Multi‐Country Simulation Model," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(292), pages 625-658, November.
    5. John Geanakoplos & Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, "undated". "Would a Privatized Social Security System Really Pay a Higher Rate of Return?," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-6, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    6. Till Treeck, 2014. "Did Inequality Cause The U.S. Financial Crisis?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 421-448, July.
    7. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8805 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Jeremy Berkowitz & Richard Hines, 1998. "Bankruptcy exemptions and the market for mortgage loans," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-07, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Oliver Denk & Jean‐Baptiste Michau, 2018. "Optimal Social Security with Imperfect Tagging," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 120(3), pages 717-762, July.
    10. Lugauer, Steven, 2012. "Demographic Change And The Great Moderation In An Overlapping Generations Model With Matching Frictions," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(5), pages 706-731, November.
    11. Matthew Chambers & Carlos Garriga & Don E. Schlagenhauf, 2009. "Accounting For Changes In The Homeownership Rate," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(3), pages 677-726, August.
    12. Emily Anderson & Atsushi Inoue & Barbara Rossi, 2016. "Heterogeneous Consumers and Fiscal Policy Shocks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(8), pages 1877-1888, December.
    13. David Miles & Ales Cerny, 2001. "Risk, Return and Portfolio Allocation under Alternative Pension Arrangements with Imperfect Financial Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 441, CESifo.
    14. Bohn, Henning & Lopez-Velasco, Armando R., 2019. "Immigration And Demographics: Can High Immigrant Fertility Explain Voter Support For Immigration?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(5), pages 1815-1837, July.
    15. Heer, Burkhard & Rohrbacher, Stefan & Scharrer, Christian, 2017. "Aging, The Great Moderation, And Business-Cycle Volatility In A Life-Cycle Model," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 362-383, March.
    16. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2007. "Minimally altruistic wages and unemployment in a matching model," Working Papers 07-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    17. Baxter, Marianne, 2002. "Social Security as a financial asset: gender-specific risks and returns," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 35-52, March.
    18. André Silva, 2008. "Taxes and labor supply: Portugal, Europe, and the United States," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 7(2), pages 101-124, August.
    19. Claudio Michelacci & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2009. "Financial Markets and Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 795-827.
    20. Paul Gomme & Richard Rogerson & Peter Rupert & Randall Wright, 2005. "The Business Cycle and the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 415-592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Matthew Chambers & Carlos Garriga & Don E. Schlagenhauf, 2007. "Equilibrium mortgage choice and housing tenure decisions with refinancing," Working Papers 2007-049, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income distribution; Wealth;

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Quantitative Macroeconomics and Real Business Cycles (QM&RBC)

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1997:i:spr:p:3-21:n:v.21no.2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cfrbmus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.