IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Income Mobility and Welfare

  • Tom Krebs
  • Pravin Krishna
  • William Maloney

This paper develops a framework for the quantitative analysis of individual income dynamics, mobility and welfare. Individual income is assumed to follow a stochastic process with two (unobserved) components, an i.i.d. component representing measurement error or transitory income shocks and an AR(1) component representing persistent changes in income. We use a tractable consumption-saving model with labor income risk and incomplete markets to relate income dynamics to consumption and welfare, and derive analytical expressions for income mobility and welfare as a function of the various parameters of the underlying income process. The empirical application of our framework using data on individual incomes from Mexico provides striking results. Much of measured income mobility is driven by measurement error or transitory income shocks and therefore (almost) welfare-neutral. A smaller part of measured income mobility is due to either welfare-reducing income risk or welfare-enhancing catching-up of low-income individuals with high-income individuals, both of which have economically significant effects on social welfare. Decomposing mobility into its fundamental components is thus seen to be crucial from the standpoint of welfare evaluation.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/24.

in new window

Length: 28
Date of creation: 28 Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/24
Contact details of provider: Postal: International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC USA
Phone: (202) 623-7000
Fax: (202) 623-4661
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," NBER Working Papers 14768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael Baker & Gary Solon, 1998. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality among Canadian Men, 1976-1992: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Records," Working Papers baker-98-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Cochrane, John H, 1989. "The Sensitivity of Tests of the Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption to Near-Rational Alternatives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 319-37, June.
  4. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chiara Binelli & Orazio Attanasio, 2010. "Mexico in the 1990s: the Main Cross-Sectional Facts," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 238-264, January.
  6. Shorrocks, Anthony, 1978. "Income inequality and income mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 376-393, December.
  7. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  9. Antman, Francisca & McKenzie, David J., 2005. "Earnings mobility and measurement error : a pseudo-panel approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3745, The World Bank.
  10. Peter T. Gottschalk & Enrico Spolaore, 2000. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," JCPR Working Papers 185, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  11. David K. Levine & William R. Zame, 2002. "Does Market Incompleteness Matter?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1805-1839, September.
  12. Geweke, John & Marshall, Robert C & Zarkin, Gary A, 1986. "Mobility Indices in Continuous Time Markov Chains," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1407-23, November.
  13. Felix Kubler & Karl Schmedders, 2000. "Incomplete Markets, Transitory Shocks And Welfare," Computing in Economics and Finance 2000 130, Society for Computational Economics.
  14. Tom Krebs, 2007. "Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 664-686, June.
  15. Deaton, A., 1989. "Saving And Liquidity Constraints," Papers 153, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  16. Tom Krebs, 2004. "Welfare Cost of Business Cycles When Markets Are Incomplete," Working Papers 2004-08, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  17. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
  18. Bénabou, Roland & Ok, Efe A, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: the POUM Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1955, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Cruces, Guillermo & Lanjouw, Peter & Lucchetti, Leonardo & Perova, Elizaveta & Vakis, Renos & Viollaz, Mariana, 2011. "Intra-generational mobility and repeated cross-sections : a three-country validation exercise," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5916, The World Bank.
  20. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  21. Dardanoni Valentino, 1993. "Measuring Social Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 372-394, December.
  22. Markandya, Anil, 1982. "Intergenerational exchange mobility and economic welfare," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 307-324.
  23. Hugo Ñopo & Giorgina Pizzolitto & José Cuesta, 2007. "Using Pseudo-Panels to Measure Income Mobility in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4557, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  24. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-24, September.
  25. Dang, Hai-Anh & Lanjouw, Peter & Luoto, Jill & McKenzie, David, 2011. "Using repeated cross-sections to explore movements in and out of poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5550, The World Bank.
  26. Fields, Gary S. & Cichello, Paul & Freije, Samuel & Menéndez, Marta & Newhouse, David, 2003. "For Richer or for Poorer ? Evidence from Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, and Venezuela," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1560, Paris Dauphine University.
  27. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1986. "Welfare Distributional Change and the Measurement of Social Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 586-93, November.
  28. Fields, Gary S. & Ok, Efe A., 1996. "The Measurement of Income Mobility: An Introduction to the Literature," Working Papers 96-05, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  29. Markandya, Anil, 1984. "The Welfare Measurement of Changes in Economic Mobility," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 51(204), pages 457-71, November.
  30. Gallant, A. Ronald, 1975. "Seemingly unrelated nonlinear regressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 35-50, February.
  31. Fields, Gary S. & Ok, Efe A., 1996. "The Meaning and Measurement of Income Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 349-377, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/24. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jim Beardow)

or (Hassan Zaidi)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.