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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:

    1. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2014. "Labour Supply Models," Contributions to Economic Analysis, in: Cathal O’Donoghue (ed.), Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling, volume 127, pages 167-221, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    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. 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).
    4. Laurent Simula & Alain Trannoy, 2020. "Bunching and Rank-Dependent Optimal Income Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 8443, CESifo.
    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. 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.
    7. Flaviana Palmisano, 2020. "Compassion and Envy in Welfare Comparisons," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1105, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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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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