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Spain is Different: Falling Trends of Inequality

  • Pijoan-Mas, Josep
  • Sánchez-Marcos, Virginia

In this article we characterize the evolution of inequality in hourly wages, hours of work, labor earnings, household disposable income and household consumption for Spain between 1985 and 2000. We look at both the Encuesta Continua de Presupuestos Familiares and the European Household Community Panel. Our analysis shows that inequality in individual net labor earnings and household net disposable income has decreased substantially. The decreases in the tertiary education premium and in the unemployment rate have been key ingredients to understand this falling trend. However, the inequality reduction has not been monotonic over the period: while it fell in years of economic expansion, there was an inequality surge in the recession of the early nineties. Public transfers have played a crucial role in smoothing out the inequality arising in the labor market, but instead the Spanish family does not seem to have been an important insurance mechanism. Regarding household consumption, inequality has fallen much less than inequality in household net disposable income, with the decrease mostly concentrated in the second half of the eighties. This suggests that the reduction in income inequality has affected the sources of permanent differences between households only during the second half of the eighties. Our estimates of the earnings process for the period are consistent with this view.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7489.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7489
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  1. Manuel A. Hidalgo, 2008. "Wage Inequality in Spain, 1980-2000," Working Papers 08.08, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  2. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2005. "Female Labor Supply As Insurance Against Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 755-764, 04/05.
  3. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L, 2004. "Two Views of Inequality Over the Life-Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 4728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. José Casado, 2011. "From income to consumption: measuring households partial insurance," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 471-495, April.
  5. Pedro Albarrán & Raquel Carrasco & Maite Martínez-Granado, 2007. "Inequality for Wage Earners and Self-Employed: Evidence from Panel Data," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0734, Banco de Espa�a.
  6. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  8. Pijoan-Mas, Josep, 2005. "Precautionary Savings or Working Longer Hours?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5322, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Sánchez-Marcos, Virginia, 2009. "Spain is Different: Falling Trends of Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 7489, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Fatih Guvenen, 2004. "Learning your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really That Persistent?," 2004 Meeting Papers 177, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Sara Rica & Juan Dolado & Vanesa Llorens, 2008. "Ceilings or floors? Gender wage gaps by education in Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 777-778, July.
  13. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. Hyeok Jeong & Yong Kim & Iourii Manovskii, 2015. "The Price of Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 784-815, February.
  15. Zvi Eckstein & Éva Nagypál, 2004. "The evolution of U.S. earnings inequality: 1961?2002," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Dec, pages 10-29.
  16. Olympia Bover, 2010. "Wealth Inequality And Household Structure: U.S. Vs. Spain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(2), pages 259-290, 06.
  17. Josep Oliver Alonso & Xavier Ramos & José Luis Raymond-Bara, 2001. "Recent trends in Spanish Income Distribution: A Robust Picture of Falling Income Inequality," Working Papers wp0107, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
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