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Is the Distribution of Income Compatible with a Stable Distribution?

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Abstract

Mandelbrot (1961) proposed to apply the class of Pareto-Levy distributions - which belong to the Stable distributions - as a framework for modelling income distributions. He also presented theoretic arguments in favor of the Pareto-Levy distributions. In this paper we provide additional theoretical justification for this class of distributions. We also use micro data on individual market income to estimate the parameters of a Pareto-Levy distribution. Several estimation methods have been applied. The estimated Pareto-Levy distribution appears to fit the data well.

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  • John K. Dagsvik & Bjørn H. Vatne, 1999. "Is the Distribution of Income Compatible with a Stable Distribution?," Discussion Papers 246, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:246
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    1. van Dijk, Herman K & Kloek, Teun, 1980. "Inferential Procedures in Stable Distributions for Class Frequency Data on Incomes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1139-1148, July.
    2. McCulloch, J Huston, 1997. "Measuring Tail Thickness to Estimate the Stable Index Alpha: A Critique," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(1), pages 74-81, January.
    3. Rolf Aaberge, 1995. "Choosing Measures of Inequality for Empirical Applications," Discussion Papers 158, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jess Benhabib & Alberto Bisin & Shenghao Zhu, 2011. "The Distribution of Wealth and Fiscal Policy in Economies With Finitely Lived Agents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 123-157, January.
    2. Shenghao Zhu & Alberto Bisin & Jess Benhabib, 2014. "The Wealth Distribution in Bewley Models with Investment Risk," 2014 Meeting Papers 617, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Dieter von Fintel, 2006. "Earnings bracket obstacles in household surveys – How sharp are the tools in the shed?," Working Papers 08/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    4. Benhabib, Jess & Bisin, Alberto & Zhu, Shenghao, 2015. "The wealth distribution in Bewley economies with capital income risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PA), pages 489-515.
    5. Jess Benhabib & Alberto Bisin, 2018. "Skewed Wealth Distributions: Theory and Empirics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1261-1291, December.
    6. Jess Benhabib & Alberto Bisin, 2006. "The distribution of wealth and redistributive policies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001162, David K. Levine.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Stable distributions; Pareto-Levy distributions; Income distributions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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