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Decomposing the Composition Effect

  • Rothe, Christoph

    ()

    (Columbia University)

This paper proposes a decomposition of the composition effect, i.e. the part of the observed between-group difference in the distribution of some economic outcome that can be explained by differences in the distribution of covariates. Our decomposition contains three types of components: (i) the "direct contributions" of each covariate due to between-group differences in the respective marginal distributions, (ii) several “two way” and "higher order" interaction effects due to the interplay between two or more covariates' marginal distributions, and (iii) a "dependence effect" accounting for between-group differences in dependence patterns among the covariates. Our methods can be used to decompose differences in arbitrary distributional features, like quantiles or inequality measures, and allows for general nonlinear relationships between the outcome and the covariates. It can easily be implemented in practice using standard econometric techniques. An application to wage data from the US illustrates the empirical relevance of the decomposition’s components.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp6397.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6397.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Business and Economic Statistics
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6397
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  1. Christoph Rothe & Dominik Wied, 2013. "Misspecification Testing in a Class of Conditional Distributional Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 108(501), pages 314-324, March.
  2. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  3. Victor Chernozhukov & Iván Fernández‐Val & Blaise Melly, 2013. "Inference on Counterfactual Distributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2205-2268, November.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521784504 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Joseph G. Altonji & Prashant Bharadwaj & Fabian Lange, 2008. "Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 13883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521845731 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Melly, Blaise, 2005. "Decomposition of differences in distribution using quantile regression," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 577-590, August.
  8. Donald, Stephen G & Green, David A & Paarsch, Harry J, 2000. "Differences in Wage Distributions between Canada and the United States: An Application of a Flexible Estimator of Distribution Functions in the Presence of Covariates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 609-33, October.
  9. Trivedi, Pravin K. & Zimmer, David M., 2007. "Copula Modeling: An Introduction for Practitioners," Foundations and Trends(R) in Econometrics, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 1-111, April.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521608275 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Rothe, Christoph, 2010. "Identification of unconditional partial effects in nonseparable models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 171-174, December.
  12. repec:sae:ecolab:v:16:y:2006:i:2:p:1-2 is not listed on IDEAS
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