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On the characterisation and measurement of the welfare effects of income mobility from an ex-ante perspective

  • Paul Allanson

The paper employs a rank-dependent formulation of the social welfare function with time-separable utilities to evaluate the economic consequences of income mobility from an ex-ante perspective. The resultant class of measures can be decomposed not only in terms of structural and exchange mobility but also in terms of vertical and horizontal mobility, thereby encompassing two of the main approaches in the literature. We illustrate our measurement framework by comparing mobility in the USA and Germany using data from the Cross-National Equivalent File 1980-2005. We find that the pattern of income mobility in the USA was both less pro-poor and more horizontally inequitable than in Germany, but that the latter did not translate into higher levels of exchange mobility given higher levels of absolute inequality and the vertical stance of the growth process.

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File URL: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/media/dundeewebsite/economicstudies/documents/discussion/DDPE_219.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by Economic Studies, University of Dundee in its series Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics with number 219.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dun:dpaper:219
Contact details of provider: Postal: Dundee, DD1 4HN
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  1. repec:ese:iserwp:2006-36 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Louis Kaplow, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life and the Coefficient of Relative Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 9852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Philippe Van Kerm, 2004. "What Lies Behind Income Mobility? Reranking and Distributional Change in Belgium, Western Germany and the USA," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(281), pages 223-239, 05.
  10. Adsera, Alicia & Boix, Carles, 2000. "Must we choose? European unemployment, American inequality, and the impact of education and labor market institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 611-638, November.
  11. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
  12. Esfandiar Maasoumi & Mark Trede, 2001. "Comparing Income Mobility In Germany And The United States Using Generalized Entropy Mobility Measures," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 551-559, August.
  13. Biewen, Martin, 2002. "Bootstrap inference for inequality, mobility and poverty measurement," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 317-342, June.
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  23. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1989. "Improving the accuracy of estimates of Gini coefficients," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 43-47, September.
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  25. Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2004. "The measurement of structural and exchange income mobility," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 219-228, September.
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