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A Theory for Ranking Distribution Functions

Author

Listed:
  • Aaberge, Rolf

    (Statistics Norway)

  • Havnes, Tarjei

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Mogstad, Magne

    (University of Chicago and Statistics Norway)

Abstract

We propose a general framework to unambiguously compare distributions functions in an economically interpretable way. Our framework provides complete ranking of any set of distributions and money metric interpretation of the social welfare level of a dominating distribution as compared to a dominated distribution. We show the usefulness of our framework using two empirical applications; the first assesses the welfare implications of changes in household income distributions over the business cycle, while the second performs a social welfare comparison of the actual and counterfactual outcome distributions from a policy experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaberge, Rolf & Havnes, Tarjei & Mogstad, Magne, 2014. "A Theory for Ranking Distribution Functions," Memorandum 20/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2014_020
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    Cited by:

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    2. Francesco Andreoli & Tarjei Havnes & Arnaud Lefranc, 2019. "Robust Inequality of Opportunity Comparisons: Theory and Application to Early Childhood Policy Evaluation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 355-369, May.
    3. Vincenzo Prete & Alessandro Sommacal & Claudio Zoli, 2016. "Optimal Non-Welfarist Income Taxation for Inequality and Polarization Reduction," Working Papers 23/2016, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    4. Andreoli, Francesco & Havnes, Tarjei & Lefranc, Arnaud, 2014. "Equalization of Opportunity: Definitions, Implementable Conditions and Application to Early-Childhood Policy Evaluation," IZA Discussion Papers 8503, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Flaviana Palmisano & Ida Petrillo, 2021. "A general rank-dependent approach for distributional comparisons," Working Papers 567, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Flaviana Palmisano & Ida Petrillo, 2022. "A general rank‐dependent approach for distributional comparisons," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 24(2), pages 380-409, April.
    7. Ida Petrillo, 2017. "Ranking income distributions: a rank-dependent and needs-based approach," SERIES 03-2017, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Jul 2017.
    8. Joan Costa‐Font & Frank A. Cowell & Belen Saenz de Miera, 2021. "Measuring pure health inequality and mobility during a health insurance expansion: Evidence from Mexico," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(8), pages 1833-1848, August.
    9. Flaviana Palmisano, 2020. "Compassion and Envy in Welfare Comparisons," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1105, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Eric R. Nielsen, 2015. "Achievement Gap Estimates and Deviations from Cardinal Comparability," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-40, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    distribution functions; stochastic dominance; social welfare; inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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