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Local versus Global Assessment of Mobility

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  • Christian Schluter
  • Mark Trede

Abstract

Mobility indices are popular tools designed to quantify the extent of income changes by aggregating "local" distributional change into a "global" scalar according to some rule. For some mobility measures, this aggregation rule is only implicit in their standard definition. We derive an insightful approximation to the (statistical) aggregation rule for the important class of mobility indices introduced by Shorrocks ("Journal of Economic Theory" 19 (1978), 376-93) and further generalized by Maasoumi and Zandvakili ("Economic Letters" 22 (1986), 97-102), which enables us to characterize their normative properties. We also develop methods for estimation and inference. A substantive empirical contribution emerges from the comparison of mobility between the United States and Germany. Our methods reveal why income mobility is higher in Germany than in the United States: Higher German mobility in the bottom of the distribution is combined with an implicitly higher weighting by the mobility index at the bottom. Copyright 2003 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Schluter & Mark Trede, 2003. "Local versus Global Assessment of Mobility," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1313-1335, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:44:y:2003:i:4:p:1313-1335
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    1. repec:cep:sticas:/132 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ayala, Luis & Sastre, Mercedes, 2002. "What determines income mobility differences across the European Union?," ISER Working Paper Series 2002-27, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Dickens, Richard & McKnight, Abigail, 2008. "Changes in earnings inequality and mobility in Great Britain 1978/9-2005/6," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47481, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Garnero, Andrea & Hijzen, Alexander & Martin, Sébastien, 2016. "More Unequal, But More Mobile? Earnings Inequality and Mobility in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 9753, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Philippe Van Kerm, 2004. "What Lies Behind Income Mobility? Reranking and Distributional Change in Belgium, Western Germany and the USA," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(281), pages 223-239, May.
    6. Luis Ayala & Mercedes Sastre, 2008. "The structure of income mobility: empirical evidence from five UE countries," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 451-473, November.
    7. C. Schluter & D. Van De Gaer, 2008. "Structural Mobility, Exchange Mobility and Subgroup Consistent Mobility Measurement – US–German Mobility Measurements Revisited," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 08/543, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    8. Stephen P. Jenkins & Philippe Van Kerm, 2006. "Trends in income inequality, pro-poor income growth, and income mobility," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 531-548, July.
    9. Markus Jäntti & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2013. "Income Mobility," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 607, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Van Kerm, Philippe, 2002. "On the magnitude of income mobility in Germany," IRISS Working Paper Series 2002-03, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    11. Aristei, David & Perugini, Cristiano, 2015. "The drivers of income mobility in Europe," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 197-224.
    12. Luis Ayala & Mercedes Sastre, 2004. "Europe vs. the United States: is there a trade-off between mobility and inequality?," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 13(1-2), pages 4-4, March-Jun.
    13. C. Schluter & D. Van De Gaer, 2003. "Mobility as distributional difference," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 03/182, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    14. Audra J. Bowlus & Jean-Marc Robin, 2012. "An International Comparison Of Lifetime Inequality: How Continental Europe Resembles North America," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1236-1262, December.
    15. Audra J. Bowlus & Jean-Marc Robin, 2010. "An International Comparison of Equalization Mobility and Lifetime Earnings Inequality: How Continental Europe Resembles North America," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompq, Sciences Po.
    16. Van Kerm, Philippe, 2006. "Comparisons of income mobility profiles," IRISS Working Paper Series 2006-03, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    17. Stefan Dercon & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2007. "Moving On, Staying Behind, Getting Lost: Lessons on poverty mobility from longitudinal data," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-075, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    18. Sergio Firpo & Cristine Pinto, 2016. "Identification and Estimation of Distributional Impacts of Interventions Using Changes in Inequality Measures," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(3), pages 457-486, April.
    19. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Schluter, Christian, 2001. "Why are child poverty rates higher in Britain than in Germany? a longitudinal perspective -working paper-," ISER Working Paper Series 2001-16, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    20. Abatemarco, Antonio, 2003. "Measuring income mobility over equivalent adults," ISER Working Paper Series 2003-15, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    21. Firpo, Sergio Pinheiro, 2010. "Identification and estimation of interventions using changes in inequality measures," Textos para discussão 214, FGV/EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    22. Mussini, Mauro, 2013. "On decomposing inequality and poverty changes over time: A multi-dimensional decomposition," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 8-18.

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