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The transmission of uncertainty shocks on income inequality: State-level evidence from the United States

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  • Fischer, Manfred M.

    ()

  • Huber, Florian

    ()

  • Pfarrhofer, Michael

    ()

Abstract

In this paper, we explore the relationship between state-level household income inequality and macroeconomic uncertainty in the United States. Using a novel large-scale macroeconometric model, we shed light on regional disparities of inequality responses to a national uncertainty shock. The results suggest that income inequality decreases in most states, with a pronounced degree of heterogeneity in terms of shapes and magnitudes of the dynamic responses. By contrast, some few states, mostly located in the West and South census region, display increasing levels of income inequality over time. We find that this directional pattern in responses is mainly driven by the income composition and labor market fundamentals. In addition, forecast error variance decompositions allow for a quantitative assessment of the importance of uncertainty shocks in explaining income inequality. The findings highlight that volatility shocks account for a considerable fraction of forecast error variance for most states considered. Finally, a regression-based analysis sheds light on the driving forces behind differences in state-specific inequality responses.

Suggested Citation

  • Fischer, Manfred M. & Huber, Florian & Pfarrhofer, Michael, 2018. "The transmission of uncertainty shocks on income inequality: State-level evidence from the United States," Working Papers in Regional Science 6368, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wus046:6368
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Theophilopoulou, Angeliki, 2018. "The impact of macroeconomic uncertainty on inequality: An empirical study for the UK," MPRA Paper 90448, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income distribution; inequality; uncertainty shocks; US states; global vector autoregressive model;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C30 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E39 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Other

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