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Measuring Richness and Poverty: A Micro Data Application to Europe and Germany

  • Peichl, Andreas

    ()

    (ZEW Mannheim)

  • Schaefer, Thilo

    ()

    (University of Cologne)

  • Scheicher, Christoph

    ()

    (University of Cologne)

In this paper, we define a new class of richness measures. In contrast to the often used headcount, these new measures are sensitive to changes in rich persons' income and therefore allow for a more sophisticated analysis of richness. We demonstrate the application of these new measures to analyze the development of poverty and richness over time in Germany, to compare Germany to many other European countries and to investigate the impact of tax reforms on poverty and richness. Using these examples, we show the importance of taking into account the intensity of changes and not only the number of people beyond a given richness line (headcount). We propose to use the new measures in addition to the headcount index for a more comprehensive analysis of richness.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3790.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3790
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  1. Atkinson, A. B., 1997. "Measurement of Trends in Poverty and the Income Distribution," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9712, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  2. Atkinson, Tony, et al, 2002. "Microsimulation of Social Policy in the European Union: Case Study of a European Minimum Pension," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(274), pages 229-43, May.
  3. Chakravarty, Satya R., 1983. "A new index of poverty," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 307-313, December.
  4. Fabien Dell, 2005. "Top Incomes in Germany and Switzerland Over the Twentieth Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 412-421, 04/05.
  5. Ricardo Varsano & Kevin Kim & Michael Keen, 2006. "The "Flat Tax(es)"; Principles and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 06/218, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Schaefer, Thilo & Peichl, Andreas, 2006. "Documentation FiFoSiM: integrated tax benefit microsimulation and CGE model," FiFo Discussion Papers - Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 06-10, University of Cologne, FiFo Institute for Public Economics.
  7. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective," NBER Working Papers 11955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marcelo Medeiros, 2006. "The Rich and the Poor: The Construction of an Affluence Line from the Poverty Line," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 78(1), pages 1-18, 08.
  9. Anthony B. Atkinson, 2005. "Comparing the Distribution of Top Incomes Across Countries," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 393-401, 04/05.
  10. Emmanuel Saez, 2005. "Top Incomes in the United States and Canada Over the Twentieth Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 402-411, 04/05.
  11. Schaefer, Thilo & Peichl, Andreas, 2007. "Documentation FiFoSiM: Integrated tax benefit microsimulation," FiFo Discussion Papers - Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 06-10 [rev.], University of Cologne, FiFo Institute for Public Economics.
  12. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.
  13. Thomas Piketty, 2005. "Top Income Shares in the Long Run: An Overview," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 382-392, 04/05.
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