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Income Risk, Income Mobility and Welfare

  • Krebs, Tom

    ()

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Krishna, Pravin

    ()

    (Johns Hopkins University)

  • Maloney, William F.

    ()

    (World Bank)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7056.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7056
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  1. 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.
  2. Francisca Antman & David J. McKenzie, 2007. "Earnings Mobility and Measurement Error: A Pseudo-Panel Approach," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 125-161.
  3. 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.
  4. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  5. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative macroeconomics with heterogeneous households," Staff Report 420, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. 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.
  7. tom krebs, 2004. "welfare cost of business cycles when markets are incomplete," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 283, Econometric Society.
  8. Peter Gottschalk & Enrico Spolaore, 2000. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 459, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Apr 2001.
  9. Baker, Michael & Solon, Gary, 1999. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality Among Canadian Men, 1976-1992: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Records," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999130e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  10. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
  11. 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.
  12. Felix Kubler & Karl Schmedders, 2000. "Incomplete Markets, Transitory Shocks, and Welfare," Discussion Papers 1285, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Tom Krebs, 2005. "Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," 2005 Meeting Papers 188, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Constantinides,George & Duffie,Darrel, 1992. "Asset pricing with heterogeneous consumers," Discussion Paper Serie A 381, University of Bonn, Germany.
  15. Benabou, R. & Ok, E.A., 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," Working Papers 98-23, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Gallant, A. Ronald, 1975. "Seemingly unrelated nonlinear regressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 35-50, February.
  20. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  21. Dardanoni Valentino, 1993. "Measuring Social Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 372-394, December.
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