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Polarization of Time and Income: A Multidimensional Approach with Well-Being Gap and Minimum 2DGAP ; German Evidence

  • Joachim Merz
  • Bettina Scherg

A growing polarization of society accompanied with an erosion of the middle class experiences more and more attention at least in the German recent economic and social policy discussion. Our study contributes to the polarization discussion with respect to multidimensional theoretical measurement and empirical application in two ways: First, we propose extended multidimensional polarization indices based on a CES-type well-being function and present a new measure to multidimensional polarization, the mean minimum polarization gap 2DGAP. This polarization intensity measure provides transparency with regard to each singular attributes - important for targeted policies - and ensures at the same time its interdependent relations. Second, the empirical application - in addition to the traditional income measure - incorporates time as a fundamental resource for any activity. In particular, genuine personal leisure time will take care of social participation in the spirit of social inclusion/exclusion and Amartya Sen's capability approach. Instead of arbitrarily choosing the attributes' parameters in the CES well-being function the interdependent relations of time and income will be evaluated by German Society. With the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and detailed time use diary data of the available German Time Use Survey (GTUS) 1991/92 and 2001/02 we quantify available and extended multidi-mensional polarization measures as well as our new approach for the polarization development of the working poor and the working rich in Germany. Results: Genuine personal leisure time in addition to income is an important polarization attribute. Compensation is of economic and static significance. In particular supported by the new minimum 2DGAP approach, multidimensional polarizationincreased over that decade in Germany.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 574.

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Length: 45 p.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp574
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  1. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-51, July.
  2. A. Atkinson, 2003. "Multidimensional Deprivation: Contrasting Social Welfare and Counting Approaches," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 51-65, April.
  3. Maria Ana Lugo, 2008. "Multidimensional Poverty Measures from an Information Theory Perspective," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp011, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  4. Andrew Harvey & Arun Mukhopadhyay, 2007. "When Twenty-Four Hours is not Enough: Time Poverty of Working Parents," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 57-77, May.
  5. Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," IZA Discussion Papers 2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  8. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  9. Joachim Merz & Markus Zwick, 2005. "Hohe Einkommen: Eine Verteilungsanalyse für Freie Berufe, Unternehmer und abhängig Beschäftigte mit Mikrodaten der Einkommensteuerstatistik," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(2), pages 269-298.
  10. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-63.
  11. Joan Esteban & Carlos Gradín & Debraj Ray, 2007. "An Extension of a Measure of Polarization, with an application to the income distribution of five OECD countries," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, April.
  12. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 476-487.
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  14. Joachim Merz & Tim Rathjen, 2009. "Time and Income Poverty - An Interdependent Multidimensional Poverty Approach with German Time Use Diary Data," FFB-Discussionpaper 79, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
  15. James Foster & Michael Wolfson, 2010. "Polarization and the decline of the middle class: Canada and the U.S," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 247-273, June.
  16. Walter Bossert & Satya R. Chakravarty & Conchita D'Ambrosio, 2013. "Multidimensional Poverty and Material Deprivation with Discrete Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(1), pages 29-43, 03.
  17. Chiara Gigliarano & Karl Mosler, 2009. "Constructing indices of multivariate polarization," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 435-460, December.
  18. Andreas Peichl, 2007. "Measuring richness," German Stata Users' Group Meetings 2007 06, Stata Users Group.
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