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Does Size Matter? The Impact of Changes in Household Structure on Income Distribution in Germany

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  • Andreas Peichl

    ()

  • Nico Pestel
  • Hilmar Schneider

Abstract

Income inequality in Germany has been continuously increasing during the past 20 years. In general, this is understood as an increase in inequality of wages due to changes in bargaining power of employees. However, the role of changing household structure is widely neglected. Societal trends like a decline in birth rate and an increase in the risk of divorce affect per capita incomes, which has repercussions for the income distribution even if wages remain constant. The aim of this paper is to quantify the proportion of changing household structures in the increase in inequality. We find that the rise in inequality was indeed more due to changes of household structure and employment behavior rather than changes in wages. Moreover, a large part of this increase is compensated by the welfare state.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Hilmar Schneider, 2010. "Does Size Matter? The Impact of Changes in Household Structure on Income Distribution in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 3219, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3219
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3219.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pestel, Nico, 2014. "Beyond Inequality Accounting: Marital Sorting and Couple Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 8482, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Jan Goebel & Markus M. Grabka, 2011. "Entwicklung der Altersarmut in Deutschland," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 80(2), pages 101-118.
    3. Niehues, Judith & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Unfair Inequality: Theory and Evidence for Germany and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5834, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Peter Haan & Michal Myck, 2010. "Safety net still in transition: labour market incentive effects of social support in Poland and Germany," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 41(3), pages 5-34.
    5. Jurgen Faik & Uwe Fachinger, 2013. "The decomposition of well-being categories: An application to Germany," Working Papers 307, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Sebastian Siegloch, 2013. "Ist Deutschland wirklich so progressiv? Einkommensumverteilung im europäischen Vergleich," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 82(1), pages 111-127.
    7. Andreas Kappeler & Andrés Fuentes Hutfilter, 2014. "Making Economic Growth more Socially Inclusive in Germany," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1175, OECD Publishing.
    8. 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.
    9. Salverda, Wiemer & Checchi, Daniele, 2014. "Labour-Market Institutions and the Dispersion of Wage Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 8220, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. KYZYMA Iryna, 2013. "Changes in the patterns of poverty duration in Germany, 1992-2009," LISER Working Paper Series 2013-06, LISER.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income distribution; demography; household size; decomposition; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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