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Measuring Distribution and Mobility of Income and Wealth

A collection of twenty-three studies that explore the latest developments in the analysis of income and wealth distribution and mobility.

Economic research is increasingly focused on inequality in the distribution of personal resources and outcomes. One aspect of inequality is mobility: are individuals locked into their respective places in this distribution? To what extent do circumstances change, either over the lifecycle or across generations? Research not only measures inequality and mobility, but also analyzes the historical, economic, and social determinants of these outcomes and the effect of public policies. This volume explores the latest developments in the analysis of income and wealth distribution and mobility. The collection of twenty-three studies is divided into five sections. The first examines observed patterns of income inequality and shifts in the distribution of earnings and in other factors that contribute to it. The next examines wealth inequality, including a substantial discussion of the difficulties of defining and measuring wealth. The third section presents new evidence on the intergenerational transmission of inequality and the mechanisms that underlie it. The next section considers the impact of various policy interventions that are directed at reducing inequality. The final section addresses the challenges of combining household-level data, potentially from multiple sources such as surveys and administrative records, and aggregate data to study inequality, and explores ways to make survey data more comparable with national income accounts data.  

Table of Contents

Prefatory Note
Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Janet C. Gornick, Barry Johnson, and Arthur Kennickell
I. Income Inequality
1. In Search of the Roots of American Inequality Exceptionalism: An Analysis Based on Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Data
Janet C. Gornick, Branko Milanovic, and Nathaniel Johnson
2. Rising Between- Firm Inequality and Declining Labor Market Fluidity: Evidence of a Changing Job Ladder
John Haltiwanger and James R. Spletzer
3. United States Earnings Dynamics: Inequality, Mobility, and Volatility
Kevin L. McKinney, John M. Abowd, and John Sabelhaus
4. Evidence from Unique Swiss Tax Data on the Composition and Joint Distribution of Income and Wealth
Isabel Z. Martinez

II. Wealth Inequality
5. The Wealth of Generations, with Special Attention to the Millennials
William G. Gale, Hilary Gelfond, Jason J. Fichtner, and Benjamin H. Harris
6. Wealth Transfers and Net Wealth at Death: Evidence from the Italian Inheritance Tax Records, 1995– 2016
Paolo Acciari and Salvatore Morelli
7. On the Distribution of Estates and the Distribution of Wealth: Evidence from the Dead
Yonatan Berman and Salvatore Morelli
8. Structuring the Analysis of Wealth Inequality Using the Functions of Wealth: A Class- Based Approach
Pirmin Fessler and Martin Schurz
9. Social Security Wealth, Inequality, and Life- Cycle Saving
John Sabelhaus and Alice Henriques Volz

III. Income and Wealth Mobility
10. Parental Education and the Rising Transmission of Income between Generations
Marie Connolly, Catherine Haeck, and Jean- William Laliberte
11. Inequality of Opportunity for Income in Denmark and the United States: A Comparison Based on Administrative Data
Pablo A. Mitnik, Anne- Line Helso, and Victoria L. Bryant
12. Presence and Persistence of Poverty in US Tax Data
Jeff Larrimore, Jacob Mortenson, and David Splinter
13. Intergenerational Home Ownership in France over the Twentieth Century
Bertrand Garbinti and Frederique Savignac

14. Inequality and Mobility over the Past Half- Century Using Income, Consumption, and Wealth
Jonathan D. Fisher and David S. Johnson
IV. Mitigating Inequality
15. The Accuracy of Tax Imputations: Estimating Tax Liabilities and Credits Using Linked Survey and Administrative Data
Bruce D. Meyer, Derek Wu, Grace Finley, Patrick Langetieg, Carla Medalia, Mark Payne, and Alan Plumley
16. Geographic Inequality in Social Provision: Variation across the US States
Sarah K. Bruch, Janet C. Gornick, and Joseph van der Naald
17. Inequality and the Safety Net in American Cities throughout the Income Distribution, 1929– 1940
James Feigenbaum, Price Fishback, and Keoka Grayson
18. The EITC and Linking Data for Examining Multigenerational Effects
Randall Akee, Maggie R. Jones, and Emilia Simeonova
V. Distributional National Accounts
19. Distributing Personal Income: Trends over Time
Dennis Fixler, Marina Gindelsky, and David S. Johnson
20. Developing Indicators of Inequality and Poverty Consistent with National Accounts
Richard Tonkin, Sean White, Sofiya Stoyanova, Aly Youssef, Sunny Valentineo Sidhu, and Chris Payne
21. Distributional National Accounts: A Macro- Micro Approach to Inequality in Germany
Stefan Bach, Charlotte Bartels, and Theresa Neef

22. The Distributional Financial Accounts of the United States
Michael Batty, Jesse Bricker, Joseph Briggs, Sarah Friedman, Danielle Nemschoff, Eric Nielsen, Kamila Sommer, and Alice Henriques Volz
23. Using Tax Data to Better Capture Top Incomes in Official UK Income Inequality Statistics
Dominic Webber, Richard Tonkin, and Martin Shine
Author Index
Subject Index

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