NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Distributing Personal Income: Trends Over Time

Dennis Fixler, Marina Gindelsky, David Johnson

NBER Working Paper No. 26996
Issued in April 2020
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth

This paper constructs a distribution of Personal Income for the United States (2007-2016) to investigate the relationship between inequality and macroeconomic growth. We extend a perspective first presented in Fixler and Johnson (2014) and further developed in Fixler et al. (2017) and Fixler, Gindelsky, and Johnson (2018, 2019) to develop a national account-based measure using a decade of publicly available survey, tax, and administrative data. By using (equivalized) households as the base unit of analysis and focusing on a more inclusive definition of income than most inequality studies (i.e., including health, transfers, and financial assets), we improve on existing economic measures of inequality in a meaningful way and bridge the gap between micro data and macro statistics. We produce a wide set of inequality results over the period, drawing a comparison with other studies (including Auten and Splinter (2019) and Piketty, Saez, and Zucman (2018)).

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26996

Forthcoming: Distributing Personal Income: Trends over Time, Dennis Fixler, Marina Gindelsky, David Johnson. in Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, Chetty, Friedman, Gornick, Johnson, and Kennickell. 2020

 
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