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New Perspectives on Income Mobility and Inequality

Author

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  • Gerald Auten
  • Geofrey Gee
  • Nicholas Turner

Abstract

This study examines several dimensions of income mobility and inequality — mobility of individuals through their peak earnings years, intergenerational mobility, and persistence in the top 1 percent. Its main findings can be summarized as follows. Half of those age 35–40 in the bottom quintile of their cohort moved to higher quintiles 20 years later; over 60 percent moved up relative to the full population. About 70 percent of dependents from low-income households were themselves in higher quintiles 20 years later. Younger generations gradually replaced those that dominated the top percentile in 1987. The results show the importance of life cycle effects and the changing composition of top income groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerald Auten & Geofrey Gee & Nicholas Turner, 2013. "New Perspectives on Income Mobility and Inequality," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 66(4), pages 893-912, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:66:y:2013:i:4:p:893-912
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    2. Gerald Auten & Geoffrey Gee & Nicholas Turner, 2013. "Income Inequality, Mobility, and Turnover at the Top in the US, 1987-2010," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 168-172, May.
    3. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1998. "An Analysis of Sample Attrition in Panel Data: The Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 251-299.
    4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    5. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1998. "An Analysis of the Impact of Sample Attrition on the Second Generation of Respondents in the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 300-344.
    6. Auten, Gerald & Gee, Geoffrey, 2009. "Income Mobility in the United States: New Evidence From Income Tax Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(2), pages 301-328, June.
    7. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data Since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Brieux Delbos, 2016. "Once in the Elite, Always in the Elite? Changing Wealth in a Changing City (Paris, France, 1845-1859)," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 126(5), pages 683-719.

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