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Does Consumption Inequality Track Income Inequality in Italy?

This paper presents stylized facts on labor supply, income, consumption, wealth, and several measures of consumption and income inequality drawn from the 1980-2006 Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW)conducted by the Bank of Italy. The SHIW provides information on consumption, income and wealth, and a sizable panel component that allows econometricians to estimate sophisticated income, consumption, and wealth processes and to analyze labor market and portfolio transitions. Given the population changes associated with the demographic transition and Italian policy reforms since the mid 1980s, the survey information provide a level playing field from which to analyze macroeconomic policy shifts and structural reforms based on microeconomic data. We find that over the sample period income inequality is higher and has grown faster than consumption inequality. The labor market reforms of the 1990s are the most plausible explanation for the rise in income inequality.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 229.

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Date of creation: 16 May 2009
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Publication status: published in Review of Economic Dynamics, January 2010, vol. 13, 133-153.
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:229
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  1. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  2. Andrea Brandolini, 1999. "The Distribution of Personal Income in Post-War Italy: Source Description, Data Quality, and the Time Pattern of Income Inequality," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 350, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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  7. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2001. "The lifecycle model of consumption and saving," IFS Working Papers W01/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Luigi Pistaferri, 1998. "Superior Information, Income Shocks and the Permanent Income Hypothesis," CSEF Working Papers 07, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  9. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2001. "Income variance dynamics and heterogenity," IFS Working Papers W01/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2000. "Using subjective income expectations to test for excess sensitivity of consumption to predicted income growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 337-358, February.
  11. Fabrizio Perri & Dirk Krueger, 2009. "How does Household Consumption Respond to Income Shocks?," 2009 Meeting Papers 14, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Erich Battistin & Raffaele Miniaci & Guglielmo Weber, 2003. "What do we learn from recall consumption data?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 466, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  14. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
  15. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, 07.
  16. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
  17. Lucifora, Claudio & Comi, Simona & Brunello, Giorgio, 2000. "The Returns to Education in Italy: A New Look at the Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 130, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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