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Equivalence scales reconsidered an empirical investigation

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  • Bönke, Timm
  • Schröder, Carsten

Abstract

Income-expenditure surveys typically provide incomes on the household level. As households can differ in size and needs, a reliable assessment of inequality in living standards, therefore, necessitates the conversion of the original heterogeneous into an artificial quasi-homogeneous population. Ebert and Moyes (2003) and Shorrocks (2004) theoretically explore the properties of two alternative conversion strategies: a weighting of household equivalent incomes by size and by needs. We use data from the Luxembourg Income Study for examining the sensitivity of the Gini and the Theil index to the chosen conversion strategy, and explain our results by means of an inequality decomposition by population subgroups.

Suggested Citation

  • Bönke, Timm & Schröder, Carsten, 2007. "Equivalence scales reconsidered an empirical investigation," Discussion Papers 2007/21, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:200721
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Peter J. Lambert & Andre' Decoster, 2005. "The Gini coefficient reveals more," Metron - International Journal of Statistics, Dipartimento di Statistica, Probabilità e Statistiche Applicate - University of Rome, vol. 0(3), pages 373-400.
    2. Burkhauser, Richard V & Smeeding, Timothy M & Merz, Joachim, 1996. "Relative Inequality and Poverty in Germany and the United States Using Alternative Equivalence Scales," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(4), pages 381-400, December.
    3. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2003. "Equivalence Scales Reconsidered," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 319-343, January.
    4. Jean-Yves Duclos & Paul Makdissi, 2005. "Sequential Stochastic Dominance And The Robustness Of Poverty Orderings," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(1), pages 63-87, March.
    5. Aaberge, Rolf & Melby, Ingrid, 1998. "The Sensitivity of Income Inequality to Choice of Equivalence Scales," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(4), pages 565-569, December.
    6. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Equivalence Scale Relativities and the Extent of Inequality and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1067-1082, September.
    7. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-142, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    income distribution; inequality; inequality decomposition; equivalence scale;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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