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Relative Inequality and Poverty in Germany and the United States Using Alternative Equivalence Scales

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  • Burkhauser, Richard V.
  • Smeeding, Timothy M.
  • Merz, Joachim

Abstract

German and United States data from the Luxembourg Income Study are used to compare the relative economic well-being of Germans and Americans in the 1980s. In our analysis we use both official equivalence scales and consumption-based country-specific equivalence scales developed for Germany and the United States by Merz et al. (1993). We verify previous studies that show that inequality and the incidence of poverty are greater in the United States than in Germany. Overall inequality and poverty levels are found not to be sensitive to the equivalence scale used. But the official German equivalence scales yields quite different results from those using all other scales with respect to the relative income and poverty levels of vulnerable groups within the population, especially older single people.

Suggested Citation

  • Burkhauser, Richard V. & Smeeding, Timothy M. & Merz, Joachim, 1994. "Relative Inequality and Poverty in Germany and the United States Using Alternative Equivalence Scales," MPRA Paper 7229, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7229
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Merz, Joachim & Garner, Thesia & Smeeding, Timothy M. & Faik, Jürgen & Johnson, David, 1994. "Two Scales, One Methodology - Expenditure Based Equivalence Scales for the United States and Germany," MPRA Paper 7233, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Burkhauser, Richard V, et al, 1990. "Economic Burdens of Marital Disruptions: A Comparison of the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 36(4), pages 319-333, December.
    3. Jenkins, Stephen P & Cowell, Frank A, 1994. "Parametric Equivalence Scales and Scale Relativities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 891-900, July.
    4. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Equivalence Scale Relativities and the Extent of Inequality and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1067-1082, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Osberg, L. & Sharpe, A., 1998. "An Index of Economic Well-being for Canada," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive 98-08, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
    2. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2003. "Human Well-being and Economic Well-being: What Values Are Implicit in Current Indices?," CSLS Research Reports 2003-04, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    3. Schluter, C, 1996. "On the Non-Stationarity of German Income Mobility (and Some Observations on Poverty Dynamics)," Economics Working Papers eco96/35, European University Institute.
    4. C. A. de Kam & J. de Haan & C. Giles & A. Manresa & E. Berenguer & S. Calonge & J. Merz, 1996. "Who pays the taxes?," FFB-Discussionpaper 18, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
      • de Kam, C. A. & de Haan, J. & Giles, C. & Manresa, A. & Berenguer, E. & Calonge, S., 1996. "Who pays the taxes?," MPRA Paper 7146, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Bird, Edward J., 2001. "Does the welfare state induce risk-taking?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 357-383, June.
    6. Merz, Joachim, 1995. "MICSIM : Concept, Developments and Applications of a PC-Microsimulation Model for Research and Teaching," MPRA Paper 16029, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Bönke, Timm & Schröder, Carsten, 2007. "Equivalence scales reconsidered: an empirical investigation," Economics Working Papers 2007-31, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    8. Merz, Joachim & Burgert, Derik, 2003. "Working Hour Arrangements and Working Hours A Microeconometric Analysis Based on German Time Diary Data," MPRA Paper 5979, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Merz, Joachim, 1993. "Market and Non-market Labor Supply and Recent German Tax Reform Impacts - Behavioral Response in a Combined Dynamic and Static Microsimulation Model," MPRA Paper 7235, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Leonardo Becchetti & Elena Giachin Ricca & Alessandra Pelloni, 2009. "Children, happiness and taxation," Econometica Working Papers wp12, Econometica.
    11. Sami Bibi & Paul Makdissi & Myra Yazbeck, 2012. "Equivalence scales and housing deprivation orderings: an example using Lebanese data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(7), pages 853-866, March.
    12. Merz, Joachim & Lang, Rainer, 1997. "Preferred vs. Actual Working Hours - A Ten Years Paneleconometric Analysis for Professions, Entrepreneurs and Employees in Germany," MPRA Paper 7142, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Mechthild Schrooten & Timothy M. Smeeding & Gert G. Wagner, 1998. "Old-Age Security Reforms in Central Eastern Europe: The Cases of Czech Republic, Slovak, Hungary and Poland," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 175, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    14. El-Osta, Hisham S. & Morehart, Mitchell J., 2009. "Welfare Decomposition in the Context of the Life Cycle of Farm Operators: What Does a National Survey Reveal?," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 1-17, October.
    15. Joachim Merz & Peter Paic, 2006. "New microeconometric evidence from the German Socio-Economic Panel," FFB-Discussionpaper 56, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
    16. Richard V. Burkhauser & Takashi Oshio & Ludmila Rovba, 2008. "How the Distribution of After-Tax Income Changed Over the 1990s Business Cycle: A Comparison of the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 17(1), pages 87-109, March.
    17. Joachim Merz & Daniel Vorgrimler & Markus Zwick, 2006. "De facto anonymised microdata file on income tax statistics 1998," FFB-Discussionpaper 58, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
    18. Elisabetta Ruspini, 1999. "The Contribution of Longitudinal Research to the Study of Women's Poverty," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 323-338, August.
    19. Mary C. Daly & Heather N. Royer, 2000. "Cyclical and demographic influences on the distribution of income in California," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 1-13.
    20. Dimitra Aggelopoulou & Stavros Zografakis & Panayiotis Sypsas, 2011. "Distribution of poverty and inequality indices for various groups in Greece using the bootstrap technique," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 4(2), pages 81-97, August.
    21. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2011. "Trends in U. S. family income mobility, 1969-2006," Working Papers 11-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    22. Paul Makdissi & Quentin Wodon, 2004. "Migration, poverty, and housing in Honduras," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 31(1 Year 20), pages 5-20, June.
    23. Hillringhaus, Tilman & Peichl, Andreas, 2010. "Die Messung von Armut unter Berücksichtigung regional divergierender Lebenshaltungskosten und öffentlicher Leistungen," IZA Discussion Papers 5344, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    24. Mathias Sommer, 2008. "Understanding the trends in income, consumption and wealth inequality and how important are life-cycle effects?," MEA discussion paper series 08160, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    alternative equivalence scale; Germany; USA; distribution of income; inequality; poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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