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The measurement of income mobility: A partial ordering approach

Author

Listed:
  • Tapan Mitra

    (Department of Economics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA)

  • Efe A. Ok

    (Department of Economics, New York University, 269 Mercer St., New York, NY 10003, USA)

Abstract

Given a set of longitudinal data pertaining to two populations, a question of interest is the following: Which population has experienced a greater extent of income mobility? The aim of the present paper is to develop a systematic way of answering this question. We first put forth four axioms for income movement-mobility indices, and show that a familiar class of measures is characterized by these axioms. An unambiguous (partial) ordering is then defined as the intersection of the (complete) orderings induced by the mobility measures which belong to the characterized class; a transformation of income distributions is "more mobile" than another if, and only if, the former is ranked higher than the latter for all mobility measures which satisfy our axioms. Unfortunately, our mobility ordering depends on a parameter, and therefore, it is not readily apparent how one can apply it to panel data directly. In the second part of the paper, therefore, we derive several sets of parameter-free necessary and sufficient conditions which allow one to use the proposed mobility ordering in making unambiguous income mobility comparisons in practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Tapan Mitra & Efe A. Ok, 1998. "The measurement of income mobility: A partial ordering approach," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 12(1), pages 77-102.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:12:y:1998:i:1:p:77-102
    Note: Received: July 12, 1995; revised version: May 13, 1997
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcello D’Agostino & Valentino Dardanoni, 2009. "What’s so special about Euclidean distance?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 33(2), pages 211-233, August.
    2. Robert Aebi & Klaus Neusser & Peter Steiner, 2004. "Equilibrium Mobility," Diskussionsschriften dp0408, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    3. Yoram Amiel & Michele Bernasconi & Frank Cowell & Valentino Dardanoni, 2015. "Do we value mobility?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(2), pages 231-255, February.
    4. Satya R. Chakravarty & Nachiketa Chattopadhyay & Nora Lustig & Rodrigo Aranda Balcazar, 2017. "Measuring Directional Mobility: The Bartholomew and Prais-Bibby Indices Reconsidered," Working Papers 1720, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Marcelo Cortes Neri & Nanak Kakwani, 2016. "On Measuring Social Tensions: With Applications To Brazil," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 220, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    8. D'Agostino, Marcello & Dardanoni, Valentino, 2009. "The measurement of rank mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1783-1803, 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. Marat Ibragimov & Rustam Ibragimov, 2007. "Market Demand Elasticity and Income Inequality," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(3), pages 579-587, September.
    11. Ian Brand-Weiner & Francesca Francavilla, 2015. "Income mobility in times of economic growth: The case of Viet Nam," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 328, OECD Publishing.
    12. Van Kerm, Philippe, 2006. "Comparisons of income mobility profiles," IRISS Working Paper Series 2006-03, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    13. Higgins, Sean & Lustig, Nora, 2016. "Can a poverty-reducing and progressive tax and transfer system hurt the poor?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 63-75.
    14. Robert Aebi & Klaus Neusser & Peter Steiner, 2006. "A Large Deviation Approach to the Measurement of Mobility," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 142(II), pages 195-222, June.
    15. Neri, Marcelo Côrtes & Kakwani, Nanak, 2017. "On measuring social tensions: with applications to Brazil," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 791, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    16. Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig, 2015. "Can Poverty-Reducing and Progressive Tax and Transfer System Hurt the Poor?," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1333, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    17. Yélé Maweki Batana & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2010. "Testing for Mobility Dominance," Cahiers de recherche 1002, CIRPEE.
    18. Joachim Jarreau, 2015. "The Impact of Naturalizations on Job Mobility and Wages: Evidence from France," Working Papers halshs-01117449, HAL.
    19. Danny Ben-Shahar & Eyal Sulganik, 2008. "Partial Ordering of Unpredictable Mobility with Welfare Implications," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 592-604, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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