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Trends in Income Inequality, Volatility, and Mobility Risk

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  • Nichols, Austin

    (Urban Institute)

Abstract

There has been a renewed interest in recent years in income inequality, economic mobility, and income volatility. I define an aggregate measure of income risk as half the squared coefficient of variation of incomes measured over both people and time, which can be decomposed into an inequality component measuring dispersion in mean incomes, a volatility component measuring the average dispersion of fluctuations about person-specific trends, and a mobility component measuring the dispersion of person-specific trends. I apply this decomposition to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to characterize trends in inequality, volatility, and mobility over the last several decades in the United States. I also examine changes in the regressivity of income growth over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Nichols, Austin, 2008. "Trends in Income Inequality, Volatility, and Mobility Risk," IRISS Working Paper Series 2008-10, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:2008-10
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    File URL: http://iriss.ceps.lu/documents/irisswp94.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Philippe Van Kerm, 2013. "Generalized measures of wage differentials," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 465-482, August.
    2. Austin Nichols & Philipp Rehm, 2014. "Income Risk in 30 Countries," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 98-116, May.
    3. Jacob S. Hacker & Gregory A. Huber & Austin Nichols & Philipp Rehm & Mark Schlesinger & Rob Valletta & Stuart Craig, 2014. "The Economic Security Index: A New Measure for Research and Policy Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 5-32, May.
    4. Sohn, Christophe & Reitel, Bernard & Walther, Olivier, 2009. "Cross-border metropolitan integration in Europe (Luxembourg, Basel and Geneva)," IRISS Working Paper Series 2009-02, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality ; volatility ; instability ; mobility ; progressivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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