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Older or Wealthier?: The Impact of Age Adjustments on the Wealth Inequality Ranking of Countries

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  • Ingvild Almas
  • Magne Mogstady

Abstract

Differences in individual wealth holdings are widely viewed as a driving force of economic inequality. However, as this finding relies on cross-section data, we may confuse older with wealthier. We propose a new method to adjust for age effects in cross-sections, which eliminates transitory wealth inequality due to age, yet preserves inequality arising from other factors. This new method is superior to existing methods, like the much used Paglin-Gini, which is shown to have several problems. A new cross-country comparable database reveals that the choice of method is empirically important: Existing methods yield erroneous wealth inequality rankings of countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingvild Almas & Magne Mogstady, 2009. "Older or Wealthier?: The Impact of Age Adjustments on the Wealth Inequality Ranking of Countries," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 181, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp181
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Almås, Ingvild & Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2011. "Baby Booming Inequality? Demographic Change and Inequality in Norway, 1967{2004," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 6/2010, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    2. Ingvild Almås & Tarjei Havnes & Magne Mogstad, 2011. "Baby booming inequality? Demographic change and earnings inequality in Norway, 1967–2000," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, pages 629-650.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wealth inequality; Life cycle; Age adjustments; Gini coefficient;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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