IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/8431.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity

Author

Listed:
  • Roland Benabou
  • Efe A. Ok

Abstract

Interest in economic mobility stems largely from its perceived role as an equalizer of opportunities, though not necessarily of outcomes. In this paper we show that this view leads very naturally to a methodology for the measurement of social mobility which has strong parallels with the theory of progressive taxation. We characterize opportunity--equalizing mobility processes, and provide simple criteria to determine when one process is more equalizing than another. We then explain how this mobility ordering relates to social welfare analysis, and how it differs from existing ones. We also extend standard indices of tax progressivity to mobility processes, and illustrate our general methodology on intra- and intergenerational mobility data from the United States and Italy.

Suggested Citation

  • Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity," NBER Working Papers 8431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8431
    Note: PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8431.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Peter Gottschalk & Enrico Spolaore, 2002. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 191-208.
    2. Conlisk, John, 1989. "Ranking mobility matrices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 231-235.
    3. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    4. Ravi Kanbur, S. M. & Stromberg, Jan-Olov, 1988. "Income transitions and income distribution dominance," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 408-416, August.
    5. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
    6. Checchi, Daniele & Ichino, Andrea & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "More equal but less mobile?: Education financing and intergenerational mobility in Italy and in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 351-393, December.
    7. Hungerford, Thomas L, 1993. "U.S. Income Mobility in the Seventies and Eighties," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(4), pages 403-417, December.
    8. Fellman, J, 1976. "The Effect of Transformations on Lorenz Curves," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 823-824, July.
    9. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-867, June.
    10. Le Breton, Michel & Moyes, Patrick & Trannoy, Alain, 1996. "Inequality Reducing Properties of Composite Taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 71-103, April.
    11. Dardanoni Valentino, 1993. "Measuring Social Mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 372-394, December.
    12. Sen, Amartya, 1997. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292975.
    13. Peter Gottschalk & Sheldon Danziger, 1997. "Family Income Mobility -- How Much Is There and Has It Changed?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 398, Boston College Department of Economics.
    14. Dasgupta, Partha & Sen, Amartya & Starrett, David, 1973. "Notes on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 180-187, April.
    15. Shorrocks, Anthony, 1978. "Income inequality and income mobility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 376-393, December.
    16. Keilson, Julian & Kester, Adri, 1977. "Monotone matrices and monotone Markov processes," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 231-241, July.
    17. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    18. Fields, Gary S & Ok, Efe A, 1999. "Measuring Movement of Incomes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(264), pages 455-471, November.
    19. Jakobsson, Ulf, 1976. "On the measurement of the degree of progression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 161-168.
    20. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-1024, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8431. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.