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Labor income dynamics and the insurance from taxes, transfers and the family

  • Richard Blundell

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

  • Michael Graber

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Magne Mogstad

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

What do labor income dynamics look like over the life-cycle? What is the relative importance of persistent shocks, transitory shocks and heterogeneous profi les? To what extent do taxes, transfers and the family attenuate these various factors in the evolution of life-cycle inequality? In this paper, we use rich Norwegian data to answer these important questions. We let individuals with di fferent education levels have a separate income process; and within each skill group, we allow for non-stationarity in age and time, heterogeneous experience profi les, and shocks of varying persistence. We find that the income processes diff er systematically by age, skill level and their interaction. To accurately describe labor income dynamics over the life-cycle, it is necessary to allow for heterogeneity by education levels and account for non-stationarity in age and time. Our findings suggest that the progressive nature of the Norwegian tax-transfer system plays a key role in attenuating the magnitude and persistence of income shocks, especially among the low skilled. By comparison, spouse's income matters less for the dynamics of inequality over the life-cycle.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W14/01.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:14/01
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  1. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2000. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles Revisited: Finite Lives and Cyclical Variation in Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 8040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Haider, Steven J, 2001. "Earnings Instability and Earnings Inequality of Males in the United States: 1967-1991," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 799-836, October.
  4. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  5. Blundell, Richard & Pistaferri, Luigi & Saporta-Eksten, Itay, 2012. "Consumption Inequality and Family Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 6900, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Greg Kaplan, 2012. "Inequality and the life cycle," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 471-525, November.
  7. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128, February.
  8. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Macroeconomics 0508026, EconWPA.
  9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, August.
  10. Jason DeBacker & Bradley Heim & Vasia Panousi & Shanthi Ramnath & Ivan Vidangos, 2013. "Rising Inequality: Transitory or Persistent? New Evidence from a Panel of U.S. Tax Returns," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 67-142.
  11. Ostrovsky Yuri, 2010. "Long-Run Earnings Inequality and Earnings Instability among Canadian Men Revisited, 1985-2005," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, March.
  12. Lundberg, Shelly, 1985. "The Added Worker Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 11-37, January.
  13. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2008. "Consumption Inequality and Partial Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1887-1921, December.
  14. Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan, 2013. "On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence, Theory, and Implications," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 452-476, July.
  15. Michael Baker & Gary Solon, 1999. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality among Canadian Men, 1976-1992: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Records," NBER Working Papers 7370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Robert A. Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2012. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Male Earnings: Methods and Evidence," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(1), pages 204-236.
  17. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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