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Can Safety Nets Offset the Impact of Risk on Wage Inequality and Social Welfare?

  • Paul Makdissi

    ()

    (Département d'économique, Université de Sherbrooke)

  • Quentin Wodon

    ()

    (AFTPM, World Bank)

Income variablity reduces social welfare if individuals are risk averse, and it is likely to increase inequality if poorer households are more vulnerable to shocks. Using a simple method to estimate risk-adjusted measures of inequality and welfare and wage data from Mexico, this note shows that it is easier for safety nets to offset the impact of risk on wage inequality than on welfare. This is because apart from its impact on inequality, risk reduces the certainty equivalent income of individuals.

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File URL: http://gredi.recherche.usherbrooke.ca/wpapers/02_08_pm.pdf
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Paper provided by Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 02-08.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision: 2002
Handle: RePEc:shr:wpaper:02-08
Contact details of provider: Postal: Sherbrooke, Québec, J1K 2R1
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  1. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  2. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
  3. Yitzhaki, Shlomo & Slemrod, Joel, 1991. "Welfare Dominance: An Application to Commodity Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 480-96, June.
  4. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  5. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  6. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1978. "Measures of relative equality and their meaning in terms of social welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-80, June.
  7. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  8. Ravallion, Martin, 1988. "Expected Poverty under Risk-Induced Welfare Variability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1171-82, December.
  9. Hildreth, Clifford & Knowles, Glenn J., 1982. "Some Estimates of Farmers' Utility Functions," Technical Bulletins 54545, University of Minnesota, Agricultural Experiment Station.
  10. Thistle, Paul D., 1993. "Negative Moments, Risk Aversion, and Stochastic Dominance," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(02), pages 301-311, June.
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