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Inequality in 3-D : Income, Consumption, and Wealth
We do not need to and should not have to choose amongst income, consumption, or wealth as the superior measure of well-being. All three individually and jointly determine well-being. We are the first to study inequality in three conjoint dimensions for the same households, using income, consumption, and wealth from the 1989-2016 Surveys of Consumer Finances (SCF). The paper focuses on two questions. What does inequality in two and three dimensions look like? Has inequality in multiple dimensions increased by less, by more, or by about the same as inequality in any one dimension? We find an ...
Inequality and poverty in the United States: the aftermath of the Great Recession
This paper explores trends in inequality and poverty using both market and after-tax and transfer income in the period during and after the Great Recession (through 2011). Using market income (or wages), inequality and poverty rose sharply between 2008 and 2010. The primary exception is measures for the top of the distribution; annual wage and income shares of the top one percent dipped in 2008 and 2009. Including taxes and transfers, broad-based inequality measures also fell, and the poverty increase was muted. Tax and transfer policies lowered inequality and poverty, but those policies were ...
Unequal incomes, unequal outcomes? Economic inequality and measures of well-being, closing discussion: social policy implications, general commentary
This paper was presented at the conference "Unequal incomes, unequal outcomes? Economic inequality and measures of well-being" as part of the closing discussion, "Social policy implications." The conference was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on May 7, 1999. The author advocates the need to examine further the effectiveness of policy responses to inequality. He identifies three broad categories of policy responses worthy of study: policies aimed at investing in public goods to enhance human capital, policies that reward socially acceptable actions and provide economic ...
Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption and wealth
Recent studies of economic inequality almost always separately examine income, consumption, and wealth inequality and, hence, miss the important synergy among the three measures explicit in the life-cycle budget constraint. Using Panel Study of Income Dynamics data from 1999 through 2013, we examine whether these changes are more dramatic at higher or lower levels of wealth and find that the marginal propensity to consume is lower at higher wealth quintiles. This suggests that low-wealth households cannot smooth consumption as much as other households do, which further implies that increasing ...