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The Covariance Structure of East and West German Incomes and its Implications for the Persistence of Poverty and Inequality

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  • Biewen, Martin

    () (University of Tuebingen)

Abstract

Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), this paper analyzes the dynamics of equivalent income in Germany in the eighties and nineties. Special emphasis is given to the separation of permanent and transitory components, the persistence of transitory shocks and their implications for the persistence of poverty and income inequality. The results suggest that 52 to 69 percent of income inequality in West Germany were due to permanent differences between individuals and that poor individuals stayed in poverty for two years on average. In East Germany, the contribution of the permanent component to overall income inequality increased from 20 percent in 1990 to over 70 percent in 1998 and the persistence of poverty rose accordingly. The paper also looks at the special situation of population subgroups such as lone mothers, ‘double income no kids’ households, couples with children and pensioners.

Suggested Citation

  • Biewen, Martin, 2002. "The Covariance Structure of East and West German Incomes and its Implications for the Persistence of Poverty and Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 459, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp459
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978. "Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
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    3. Wolfgang Franz & Viktor Steiner, 2000. "Wages in the East German Transition Process: Facts and Explanations," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(3), pages 241-269, August.
    4. Biewen, Martin, 2000. "Income Inequality in Germany during the 1980s and 1990s," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 1-19, March.
    5. M. Burda & C. Schmidt, 1997. "Getting Behind The East-West Wage Differential: Theory and Evidence," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1997,77, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    6. 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.
    7. Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2000. "The dynamics and inequality of Italian male earnings: permanent changes or transitory fluctuations?," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-41, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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    13. Fouarge, Didier & Muffels, Ruud, 2000. "Persistent poverty in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK," MPRA Paper 13297, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Keywords

    covariance structure; poverty; mobility; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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