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Inequality Measures, Equivalence Scales and Adjustment for Household Size and Composition

  • Paolo Figini

Total household income inequality can be very different from inequality measured at the income per-capita level but only in recent years has the pattern of this divergence been investigated. In this paper, results from Coulter et al. (1992) using a one-parameter equivalence scale are updated using data for Ireland, Italy, the UK and the US. A class of two-parameter equivalence scales, representing relative weights for adults and children, is then analysed. Results are shown to depend on the distribution of household size and composition among deciles of the population. Inequality generally increases with children's weight and decreases with adults' weight. OECD and other two-parameter equivalence scales empirically used show similar results to the one-parameter equivalence scale with elasticity around 0.5.

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File URL: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/TEP/1998/988.PDF
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Paper provided by Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics in its series Economics Technical Papers with number 988.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduet:988
Contact details of provider: Postal: Trinity College, Dublin 2
Phone: (+ 353 1) 6081325
Fax: 6772503
Web page: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/

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  1. Paolo Figini, 1998. "Measuring Inequality: On the Correlation of Indices," Economics Technical Papers 987, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  2. Champernowne, D G, 1974. "A Comparison of Measures of Inequality of Income Distribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(336), pages 787-816, 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 1067-82, September.
  5. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
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