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Modeling the evolution of Gini coefficient for personal incomes in the USA between 1947 and 2005

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  • Kitov, Ivan

Abstract

The evolution of Gini coefficient for personal incomes in the USA between 1947 and 2005 is analyzed and modeled. There are several versions of personal income distribution (PID) provided by the US Census Bureau (US CB) for this period with various levels of resolution. Effectively, these PIDs result in different Gini coefficients due to the differences between discrete and continuous representations. When all persons of 15 years of age and over are included in the PIDs, Gini coefficient drops from 0.64 in 1947 to 0.54 in 1990. This effect is observed due to a significant decrease in the portion of people without income. For the PIDs not including persons without income, Gini coefficient is varying around 0.51 between 1960 and 2005 with standard deviation of 0.004, i.e. is in fact constant. This Gini coefficient is practically independent on the portion of population included in the PIDs according to any revision of income definitions. The driving force of the model describing the evolution of individual incomes (microeconomic level) and their aggregate value (macroeconomic level) is the change in nominal GDP per capita. The model accurately predicts the evolution of Gini coefficient for the PIDs for people with income. The model gives practically unchanged (normalized) PIDs and Gini coefficient between 1947 and 2005. The empirical Gini curves converge to the predicted one when the number of people without income decreases. Asymptotically, the empirical curves should collapse to the theoretical one when all the working age population obtains an appropriate definition of income. Therefore the model Gini coefficient potentially better describes true behavior of inequality in the USA because the definitions of income used by the US Census Bureau apparently fail to describe true income distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Kitov, Ivan, 2007. "Modeling the evolution of Gini coefficient for personal incomes in the USA between 1947 and 2005," MPRA Paper 2798, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2798
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Drăgulescu, Adrian & Yakovenko, Victor M., 2001. "Exponential and power-law probability distributions of wealth and income in the United Kingdom and the United States," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 299(1), pages 213-221.
    2. Ivan O. Kitov, 2005. "A model for microeconomic and macroeconomic development," Working Papers 05, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Victor M. Yakovenko, 2003. "Research in Econophysics," Papers cond-mat/0302270, arXiv.org, revised Mar 2003.
    4. Ivan Kitov, 2005. "Evolution of the personal income distribution in the USA: High incomes," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 28(12), pages 1.
    5. Neal, Derek & Rosen, Sherwin, 2000. "Theories of the distribution of earnings," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 379-427, Elsevier.
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    1. Ivan O. KITOV, 2008. "The Driving Force of Labor Force Participation in Developed Countries," Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, Spiru Haret University, Faculty of Financial Management and Accounting Craiova, vol. 3(3(5)_Fall), pages 203-222.
    2. Kitov, Ivan, 2007. "Comparison of personal income inequality estimates based on data from the IRS and Census Bureau," MPRA Paper 5372, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gini index; personal income distribution; Pareto distribution; microeconomic modeling; USA; real GDP; macroeconomics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E64 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Incomes Policy; Price Policy
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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