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Earnings Dynamics and Inequality in Venezuela: 1995-1997

Author

Listed:
  • Samuel Freije

    () (IESA, Caracas, Venezuela)

  • Andre Potela Souza

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Freije & Andre Potela Souza, 2002. "Earnings Dynamics and Inequality in Venezuela: 1995-1997," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0211, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0211
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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu02-w11.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2002
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Milton Friedman & Simon Kuznets, 1954. "Income from Independent Professional Practice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie54-1, June.
    2. Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978. "Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
    3. Milton Friedman & Simon Kuznets, 1954. "The Data on Income from Independent Professional Practice," NBER Chapters,in: Income from Independent Professional Practice, pages 46-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Components of variance models; earnings inequality; earnings dynamics; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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