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How Much Does Sorting Increase Inequality?

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  • Michael Kremer

Abstract

Social commentators from William Julius Wilson to Charles Murray have argued that increased sorting of people into internally homogeneous" neighborhoods,schools, and marriages is spurring long-run inequality. Cali- bration of a formal model suggests that these fears are misplaced. In order to increase the steady-state standard deviation of education by one percent, the correlation between neighbors' education would have to double, or the correlation between spouses' education would have to increase by one-third. In fact, both correlations have declined slightly over the past few decades. Sorting has somewhat more significant effects on intergenerational mobility than on inequality."

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kremer, 1996. "How Much Does Sorting Increase Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 5566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5566
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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