Does income distribution matter for effective demand? Evidence from the United States
This article examines the influence of income distribution in the determination of effective demand in the US. A simple model is developed to simulate the effects of changing income inequality on the aggregate propensity to consume. The simulation results illustrate that income inequality has a substantial negative impact on consumption when household spending is assumed to be income-constrained. Econometric evidence is presented that rising private sector wage inequality had a dampening effect on the time path of consumption in the United States between 1978 and 2000. The methodology entails time series estimation of consumption specifications with a measure of income inequality (the Theil index) included among the explanatory variables. The argument is made that, ceteris paribus, rising income inequality creates a need for greater reliance on debt to sustain a given level of household spending.
Volume (Year): 16 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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- Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
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