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Equivalence scales reconsidered an empirical investigation

  • Bönke, Timm
  • Schröder, Carsten

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.

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Paper provided by Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2007/21.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:200721
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  1. Peter J. Lambert & Andre Decoster, 2004. "The Gini Coefficient Reveals More," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2004-18, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 05 Dec 2004.
  2. Richard V. Burkhauser & Timothy M. Smeeding & Joachim Merz, 1994. "Relative Inequality and Poverty in Germany and the United States Using Alternative Equivalence Scales," FFB-Discussionpaper 12, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.
  3. 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 115-42, June.
  4. Udo Ebert & Patrick Moyes, 2003. "Equivalence Scales Reconsidered," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 319-343, January.
  5. 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 1067-82, September.
  6. 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 565-69, December.
  7. 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, 03.
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