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On the positive correlation between income inequality and unemployment

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  • Cysne, Rubens Penha

Abstract

Several empirical studies in the literature have documented the existence of a positive correlation between income inequalitiy and unemployment. I provide a theoretical framework under which this correlation can be better understood. The analysis is based on a dynamic job search under uncertainty. I start by proving the uniqueness of a stationary distribution of wages in the economy. Drawing upon this distribution, I provide a general expression for the Gini coefficient of income inequality. The expression has the advantage of not requiring a particular specification of the distribution of wage offers. Next, I show how the Gini coefficient varies as a function of the parameters of the model, and how it can be expected to be positively correlated with the rate of unemployment. Two examples are offered. The first, of a technical nature, to show that the convergence of the measures implied by the underlying Markov process can fail in some cases. The second, to provide a quantitative assessment of the model and of the mechanism linking unemployment and inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Cysne, Rubens Penha, 2004. "On the positive correlation between income inequality and unemployment," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 561, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  • Handle: RePEc:fgv:epgewp:561
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
    2. Beach, Charles M, 1977. "Cyclical Sensitivity of Aggregate Income Inequality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 59(1), pages 56-66, February.
    3. Blinder, Alan S & Esaki, Howard Y, 1978. "Macroeconomic Activity and Income Distribution in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(4), pages 604-609, November.
    4. Nolan, Brian, 1986. "Unemployment and the Size Distribution of Income," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(212), pages 421-445, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cysne, Rubens Penha & Turchick, David, 2012. "Equilibrium unemployment-inequality correlation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 454-469.
    2. Athayde, Gustavo M. de & Flôres Junior, Renato Galvão, 2004. "Do higher moments really matter in portfolio choice?," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 574, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    3. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
    4. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala, 2012. "Inequality and Employment Sensitivities to the Falling Labour Share," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(3), pages 343-376.
    5. Flôres Junior, Renato Galvão, 2004. "On the use (fulness) of CGE modelling in trade negotiations and policy," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 564, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    6. Moreira, Humberto Ataíde & Araújo, Aloísio Pessoa de & Castro Filho, Luciano I. de, 2004. "Pure strategy equilibria of multidimensional and non-monotonic auctions," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 571, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    7. Fernando Barbosa & Alexandre Cunha & Elvia Sallum, 2006. "Competitive equilibrium hyperinflation under rational expectations," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 29(1), pages 181-195, September.
    8. Cysne, Rubens Penha, 2004. "Towards a measure of income inequality freed from the volatility caused by variations in the rate of unemployment," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 560, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    9. Horowitz, Andrew W. & Flôres Junior, Renato Galvão, 2004. "Beyond indifferent players: on the existence of prisoners dilemmas in games with amicable and adversarial preferences," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 576, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    10. Barbara Dluhosch & Daniel Horgos & Klaus Zimmermann, 2014. "Social Choice and Social Unemployment-Income Cleavages: New Insights from Happiness Research," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(6), pages 1513-1537, December.

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