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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. 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.
  2. Michael Baker & Gary Solon, 1999. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality among Canadian Men, 1976-1992: Evidence from Longitudinal Income Tax Records," NBER Working Papers 7370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Peter T. Gottschalk & Enrico Spolaore, 2000. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," JCPR Working Papers 185, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  4. 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.
  5. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 6795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  7. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
  8. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah J, 1996. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 443-87, June.
  9. Felix Kubler & Karl Schmedders, 2001. "Incomplete Markets, Transitory Shocks, and Welfare," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(4), pages 747-766, October.
  10. Tom Krebs, 2007. "Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 664-686, June.
  11. Dardanoni Valentino, 1993. "Measuring Social Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 372-394, December.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
  15. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative macroeconomics with heterogeneous households," Staff Report 420, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. Tom Krebs, 2004. "Welfare Cost of Business Cycles When Markets Are Incomplete," Working Papers 2004-08, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  17. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1995. "The Nature of Precautionary Wealth," NBER Working Papers 5193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Gary Fields & Paul Cichello & Samuel Freije & Marta Menéndez & David Newhouse, 2003. "For Richer or for Poorer? Evidence from Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, and Venezuela," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 67-99, April.
  19. 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.
  20. Antman, Francisca & McKenzie, David J., 2005. "Earnings mobility and measurement error : a pseudo-panel approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3745, The World Bank.
  21. Gallant, A. Ronald, 1975. "Seemingly unrelated nonlinear regressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 35-50, February.
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