IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/tul/ceqwps/75.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The “Missing Rich” in Household Surveys: Causes and Correction Approaches

Author

Listed:
  • Nora Lustig

    (Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Department of Economics, Tulane University, CEQ Institute)

Abstract

This paper presents a survey of causes and correction approaches to address the “missing rich” problem in household surveys. “Missing rich” here is a catch-all term for the issues that affect the upper tail of the distribution of income: undercoverage, sparseness, unit and item nonresponse, underreporting and top coding. Upper tail issues can result in serious biases and imprecision of survey-based inequality measures. A number of correction approaches have been proposed. A main distinction is between those that rely on within-survey methods and those that combine survey data with information from external sources such as tax records, National Accounts, rich lists or other external information. Within each category, the methods can correct by replacing top incomes or increasing their weight (reweighting). Correction methods can be nonparametric and parametric. This survey aims to help researchers choose appropriate correction strategies and design robustness tests.

Suggested Citation

  • Nora Lustig, 2019. "The “Missing Rich” in Household Surveys: Causes and Correction Approaches," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 75, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:ceqwps:75
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://repec.tulane.edu/RePEc/ceq/ceq75.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2019
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898.
    2. Oscar Altimir, 1987. "Income Distribution Statistics In Latin America And Their Reliability," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 33(2), pages 111-155, June.
    3. Thomas Blanchet & Juliette Fournier & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Generalized Pareto Curves : Theory and Applications," Working Papers 201703, World Inequality Lab.
    4. Thomas F. Crossley & Cormac O'Dea & Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony B. Atkinson & Salvatore Morelli, 2016. "The Challenge of Measuring UK Wealth Inequality in the 2000s," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 37, pages 13-33, March.
    5. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-19, February.
    6. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    7. Dagum, Camilo, 1997. "A New Approach to the Decomposition of the Gini Income Inequality Ratio," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 515-531.
    8. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
    9. Christoph Lakner & Branko Milanovic, 2016. "Global Income Distribution: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Great Recession," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 203-232.
    10. Thomas Piketty & Li Yang & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Capital Accumulation, Private Property, and Rising Inequality in China, 1978–2015," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2469-2496, July.
    11. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(2), pages 553-609.
    12. Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2016. "Editor's Choice Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 519-578.
    13. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Feng, Shuaizhang & Larrimore, Jeff, 2010. "Improving imputations of top incomes in the public-use current population survey by using both cell-means and variances," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 69-72, July.
    14. Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig & Andrea Vigorito, 2018. "The Rich Underreport Their Income: Assessing Biases In Inequality Estimates And Correction Methods Using Linked Survey And Tax Data," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 70, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    15. Stephen P. Jenkins, 2017. "Pareto Models, Top Incomes and Recent Trends in UK Income Inequality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(334), pages 261-289, April.
    16. François Bourguignon, 2015. "Appraising income inequality databases in Latin America," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(4), pages 557-578, December.
    17. Angus Deaton, 2005. "ERRATUM: Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-395, May.
    18. Cowell, Frank A & Victoria-Feser, Maria-Pia, 1996. "Robustness Properties of Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 77-101, January.
    19. Cowell, Frank A. & Flachaire, Emmanuel, 2007. "Income distribution and inequality measurement: The problem of extreme values," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1044-1072, December.
    20. Richard V. Burkhauser & Nicolas Hérault & Stephen P. Jenkins & Roger Wilkins, 2018. "Survey Under‐Coverage of Top Incomes and Estimation of Inequality: What is the Role of the UK's SPI Adjustment?," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 39(2), pages 213-240, June.
    21. Facundo Alveredo & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2013. "High incomes and personal taxation in a developing economy: Colombia 1993-2010," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 12, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    22. Alvaredo, Facundo, 2011. "A note on the relationship between top income shares and the Gini coefficient," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 274-277, March.
    23. Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony Atkinson & Salvatore Morelli, 2016. "The Challenge of Measuring UK Wealth Inequality in the 2000s," Post-Print halshs-02306923, HAL.
    24. Facundo Alveredo & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2013. "High incomes and personal taxation in a developing economy: Colombia 1993-2010," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1312, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    25. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2009. "From Bottom To Top: The Entire Income Distribution In Germany, 1992–2003," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 303-330, June.
    26. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2010. "Top Incomes : A Global Perspective," Post-Print halshs-00754875, HAL.
    27. Richard V. Burkhauser & Nicolas Hérault & Stephen P. Jenkins & Roger Wilkins, 2017. "Survey Under-Coverage of Top Incomes and Estimation of Inequality: What Is the Role of the UK’s SPI Adjustment?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2017n16, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    28. Andreas Alfons & Matthias Templ & Peter Filzmoser, 2013. "Robust estimation of economic indicators from survey samples based on Pareto tail modelling," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 62(2), pages 271-286, March.
    29. Bruce D. Meyer & Nikolas Mittag, 2019. "Combining Administrative and Survey Data to Improve Income Measurement," NBER Working Papers 25738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. Stephen P. Jenkins & Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Jeff Larrimore, 2011. "Measuring inequality using censored data: a multiple‐imputation approach to estimation and inference," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 174(1), pages 63-81, January.
    31. Anton Korinek & Johan Mistiaen & Martin Ravallion, 2006. "Survey nonresponse and the distribution of income," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 33-55, April.
    32. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(2), pages 553-609.
    33. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    34. Frank A. Cowell & Emmanuel Flachaire, 2007. "Income distribution and inequality measurement: The problem of extreme values," Post-Print halshs-00176029, HAL.
    35. Meyer, Bruce D. & Mittag, Nikolas, 2019. "Combining Administrative and Survey Data to Improve Income Measurement," IZA Discussion Papers 12266, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    36. Jorrit Zwijnenburg & Sophie Bournot & Federico Giovannelli, 2017. "Expert Group on Disparities in a National Accounts Framework: Results from the 2015 Exercise," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2016/10, OECD Publishing.
    37. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2007. "Top incomes over the twentieth century: A contrast between continental european and english-speaking countries," Post-Print halshs-00754859, HAL.
    38. Vladimir Hlasny & Paolo Verme, 2017. "The impact of top incomes biases on the measurement of inequality in the United States," Working Papers 452, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    39. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    top incomes; inequality measures; nonresponse; underreporting; replacing and reweighting methods; imputation; poststratification; Pareto distribution; tax records;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tul:ceqwps:75. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nora Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/detulus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.