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Older or Wealthier? The Impact of Age Adjustments on the Wealth Inequality Ranking of Countries

Differences in individual wealth holdings are widely viewed as a driving force of economic inequality. However, as this finding relies on cross-section data, we may confuse older with wealthier. We propose a new method to adjust for age effects in cross-sections, which eliminates transitory wealth inequality due to age, yet preserves inequality arising from other factors. This new method is superior to existing methods, like the much used Paglin-Gini, which is shown to have several problems. A new cross-country comparable database reveals that the choice of method is empirically important: Existing methods yield erroneous wealth inequality rankings of countries.

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Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 583.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:583
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