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Accounting for income distribution trends: A density function decomposition approach

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  • Stephen Jenkins

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  • Philippe Kerm

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Abstract

This paper develops methods for decomposing changes in the income distribution using subgroup decompositions of the income density function. Overall changes are related to changes in subgroup shares and changes in subgroup densities, where the latter are broken down further using elementary transformations of individual incomes. These density decompositions are analogous to the widely-used decompositions of inequality indices by population subgroup, except that they summarize multiple features of the income distribution (using graphs), rather than focusing on a specific feature such as dispersion, and are not dependent on the choice of a specific summary index. Nonetheless, since inequality and poverty indices can be expressed as PDF functionals, our density-based methods can also be used to provide numerical decompositions of these. An application of the methods reveals the multi-faceted nature of UK income distribution trends during the 1980s. Copyright Springer 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Jenkins & Philippe Kerm, 2005. "Accounting for income distribution trends: A density function decomposition approach," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 3(1), pages 43-61, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:3:y:2005:i:1:p:43-61
    DOI: 10.1007/s10888-004-8309-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philippe Van Kerm, 2003. "Adaptive kernel density estimation," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(2), pages 148-156, June.
    2. Cowell, F.A., 2000. "Measurement of inequality," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 87-166 Elsevier.
    3. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-1385, November.
    4. Mookherjee, Dilip & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1982. "A Decomposition Analysis of the Trend in UK Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 886-902, December.
    5. Dasgupta, Partha & Sen, Amartya & Starrett, David, 1973. "Notes on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 180-187, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Elsa Orgiazzi, 2013. "Factor Components of Inequality: A Cross-Country Study," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(4), pages 689-727, December.
    2. Daniele Checchi & Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Lara Vivian, 2016. "Are changes in the dispersion of hours worked a cause of increased earnings inequality?," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-34, December.
    3. Fabio Clementi & Francesco Schettino, 2013. "Income polarization in Brazil, 2001-2011: A distributional analysis using PNAD data," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 1796-1815.
    4. repec:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:608-632 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Cecilia Garcia Peñalosa & Orgiazzi, E., 2011. "GINI DP 12: Factor Components of Inequality. A Cross-Country Study," GINI Discussion Papers 12, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    6. Olivier Bargain & Tim Callan, 2010. "Analysing the effects of tax-benefit reforms on income distribution: a decomposition approach," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(1), pages 1-21, March.
    7. Brewer, Mike & Wren-Lewis, Liam, 2012. "Accounting for changes in income inequality: decomposition analyses for Great Britain, 1968-2009," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-17, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    8. Dean Hyslop & Suresh Yahanpath, 2006. "Income Growth and Earnings Variations in New Zealand, 1998-2004," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 39(3), pages 293-311, September.
    9. Jérôme Bourdieu & Marta Menéndez & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann, 2008. "Where have (almost) all the wealthy gone? Spatial decomposition of wealth trends in France, 1820-1939," Review of Agricultural and Environmental Studies - Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, INRA Department of Economics, vol. 87(2), pages 5-25.
    10. Olivier Bargain, 2009. "The distributional effects of tax-benefit policies under New Labour : a Shapley decomposition," Working Papers 200907, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    11. Clementi, Fabio & Molini, Vasco & Schettino, Francesco, 2018. "All that Glitters is not Gold: Polarization Amid Poverty Reduction in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 275-291.
    12. Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2015. "A Class of Social Welfare Functions That Depend on Mean Income and Income Polarization," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(3), pages 422-439, September.
    13. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Hilmar Schneider, 2012. "Does Size Matter? The Impact Of Changes In Household Structure On Income Distribution In Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(1), pages 118-141, March.
    14. repec:aru:wpaper:201304 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. VAN KERM Philippe & YU Seunghee & CHOE Chung, 2014. "Wage differentials between native, immigrant and cross-border workers: Evidence and model comparisons," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-05, LISER.
    16. Luis Huesca Reynoso & Martha Beatriz Padilla Arriola, 2012. "Empleo, escolaridad y sector informal en la Frontera Norte de México y Chihuahua: expectativas de ocupación en la crisis," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(2), pages 57-86, November.
    17. Clementi, Fabio & Dabalen, Andrew L. & Molini, Vasco & Schettino, Francesco, 2014. "The centre cannot hold: Patterns of polarization in Nigeria," WIDER Working Paper Series 149, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    18. Riccardo Massari, 2009. "Is income becoming more polarized Italy? A closer look with a distributional approach," Working Papers 1, Doctoral School of Economics, Sapienza University of Rome.
    19. Kimhi, Ayal & Tzur, Nitzan, 2011. "Long-Run Trends in the Farm Size Distribution in Israel: The Role of Part-Time Farming," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114759, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    20. Riccardo Massari & Maria Pittau & Roberto Zelli, 2009. "A dwindling middle class? Italian evidence in the 2000s," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 7(4), pages 333-350, December.
    21. Olivier Bargain, 2012. "Decomposition analysis of distributive policies using behavioural simulations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(5), pages 708-731, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    density functions; income distribution; inequality; subgroup decompositions;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution

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