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Earnings mobility and measurement error : a pseudo-panel approach

  • Antman, Francisca
  • McKenzie, David J.

The degree of mobility in incomes is often seen as an important measure of the equality of opportunity in a society and of the flexibility and freedom of its labor market. But estimation of mobility using panel data is biased by the presence of measurement error and non-random attrition from the panel. This paper shows that dynamic pseudo-panel methods can be used to consistently estimate measures of absolute and conditional mobility in the presence of non-classical measurement errors. These methods are applied to data on earnings from a Mexican quarterly rotating panel. Absolute mobility in earnings is found to be very low in Mexico, suggesting that the high level of inequality found in the cross-section will persist over time. However, the paper finds conditional mobility to be high, so that households are able to recover quickly from earnings shocks. These findings suggest a role for policies which address underlying inequalities in earnings opportunities.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3745.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3745
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  1. Peter Gottschalk & Enrico Spolaore, 2002. "On the Evaluation of Economic Mobility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 191-208.
  2. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  3. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
  4. Neil McCulloch & Bob Baulch, 2000. "Simulating the impact of policy upon chronic and transitory poverty in rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 100-130.
  5. Aaberge, Rolf & Björklund, Anders & Jäntti, Markus & Palme, Mårten & Pedersen, Peder & Smith, Nina & Wennemo, Tom, 1996. "Income Inequality and Income Mobility in the Scandinavian Countries Compared to the United States," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 98, Stockholm School of Economics, revised Aug 2002.
  6. Moffitt, Robert, 1993. "Identification and estimation of dynamic models with a time series of repeated cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1-2), pages 99-123, September.
  7. Jarvis, Sarah & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1998. "How Much Income Mobility Is There in Britain?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 428-43, March.
  8. Duncan Thomas & Elizabeth Frankenberg & James P. Smith, 2004. "Lost but Not Forgotten: Attrition and Follow-up in the Indonesia Family Life Survey," Labor and Demography 0408007, EconWPA.
  9. Francisca Antman & David McKenzie, 2007. "Poverty traps and nonlinear income dynamics with measurement error and individual heterogeneity," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(6), pages 1057-1083.
  10. Gary Fields & Paul Cichello & Samuel Freije & Marta Menéndez & David Newhouse, 2003. "For Richer or for Poorer? Evidence from Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, and Venezuela," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 67-99, April.
  11. Bob Baulch & John Hoddinott, 2000. "Economic mobility and poverty dynamics in developing countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 1-24.
  12. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  13. Neil McCulloch & Bob Baulch, 2000. "Simulating the Impact of Policy upon Chronic and Transitory Poverty in Rural Pakistan," Econometrics 0004003, EconWPA.
  14. Arellano, M., 1989. "A Note On The Anderson-Hsiao Estimator For Panel Data," Economics Series Working Papers 9975, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  15. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  16. Dolores Collado, M., 1997. "Estimating dynamic models from time series of independent cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 37-62.
  17. McKenzie, D.J.David J., 2004. "Asymptotic theory for heterogeneous dynamic pseudo-panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 235-262, June.
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