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Earnings Dynamics and Inequality in Venezuela: 1995-1997

  • Samuel Freije

    ()

    (IESA, Caracas, Venezuela)

  • Andre Potela Souza

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

In this paper, we decompose the variance of logarithmic monthly earnings of prime age males into its permanent and transitory components, using a five-wave rotating panel from the Venezuelan "Encuesta de Hogares por Muestreo" from 1995 to 1997. As far as we know, this is the first time a variance components model is estimated for a developing country. We test several specifications and find that an error component model with individual random effects and first order serially correlated errors fits the data well. In the simplest model, around 22% of earnings variance is explained by the variance of permanent component, 77% by purely stochastic variation and the remaining 1% by serial correlation. These results contrast with studies from industrial countries where the permanent component is predominant. The permanent component is usually interpreted as the results of productivity characteristics of individuals whereas the transitory component is due to stochastic perturbations such as job and/or price instability, among others. Our findings may be due to the timing of the panel when occurred precisely during macroeconomic turmoil resulting from a severe financial crisis. The findings suggest that earnings instability is an important source of inequality in a region characterized by high inequality and macroeconomic instability.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu02-w11.pdf
File Function: First version, 2002
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0211.

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Date of creation: May 2002
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0211
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Milton Friedman & Simon Kuznets, 1954. "Income from Independent Professional Practice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie54-1, June.
  2. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  3. Lee A. Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 1976. "Dynamic Aspects of Earnings Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  5. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  6. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
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