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About the Author(s)


Bruce D. Meyer is the McCormick Foundation Professor at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy, where he has been since 2004, and a research associate in the NBER's Labor Studies, Public Economics, Children, and Aging Programs. He studies poverty and inequality, tax policy, the accuracy of household surveys, and government safety net programs such as unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, food stamps, and Medicaid.

Meyer has been editor or associate editor of the Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, the Journal of Public Economics, and the Journal of Labor Economics. He is a member of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Technical Advisory Committee, serves on the American Economic Association Committee on Government Relations, and was recently chair of the Business and Economic Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association. He has served on the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, the National Academy Panel on Redesigning the BLS Consumer Expenditure Surveys, and the Advisory Panel on Research Uses of Administrative Data.

From 1987–2004, Meyer was a professor in the economics department of Northwestern University. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, University College London, and Princeton University.

Meyer received his BA and MA in economics from Northwestern University in 1981 and his PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987. He lives in Chicago with his economist wife Paula and enjoys most outdoor activities, including running and ice hockey.


1. M. Friedman, A Theory of the Consumption Function, Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1957; J. Poterba, "Is the Gasoline Tax Regressive?" in Tax Policy and the Economy, 5, pp. 145–64, 1991.   Go to ⤴︎
2. B. Meyer and J. Sullivan, "Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Paper 9760, June 2003, and Journal of Human Resources, 38:S, 2003, pp. 1180–220; B. Meyer and J. Sullivan, "Further Results on Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Paper 13413, September 2007, and Canadian Journal of Economics, 44(1), 2011, pp. 52–87; B. Meyer and J. Sullivan, "Identifying the Disadvantaged: Official Poverty, Consumption Poverty, and the New Supplemental Poverty Measure," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26(3), 2012, pp. 111–36. Go to ⤴︎
3. For studies of consumption inequality, see: D. Johnson and S. Shipp, "Trends in Inequality Using Consumption-Expenditures: The U.S. from 1960 to 1993," Review of Income and Wealth, 43(2), 1997, pp. 13–52; D. Slesnick, Consumption and Social Welfare, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2001; D. Krueger and F. Perri, "Does Income Inequality Lead To Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory," Review of Economic Studies, 73(1), 2006, pp. 163–93; J. Heathcote, F. Perri, and G. L. Violante, "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967–2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, 13(1), 2010, pp. 15–51; O. Attanasio, E. Hurst, and L. Pistaferri, "The Evolution of Income, Consumption, and Leisure Inequality in the United States, 1980–2010," NBER Working Paper 17982, April 2012, and Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, University of Chicago Press, 2015; M. Aguiar and M. Bils, "Has Consumption Inequality Mirrored Income Inequality?," American Economic Review, 105(9), 2015, pp. 2725–56; J. Fisher, D. Johnson, and T. Smeeding, "Inequality of Income and Consumption in the U.S.: Measuring the Trends in Inequality from 1984 to 2011 for the Same Individuals," Review of Income and Wealth, 61(4), 2015, pp. 630–50.   Go to ⤴︎
4. B. Meyer, W. Mok, and J. Sullivan, "Household Surveys in Crisis," NBER Working Paper 21399, July 2015, and Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(4), 2015; B. Meyer and N. Mittag, "Using Linked Survey and Administrative Data to Better Measure Income: Implications for Poverty, Program Effectiveness, and Holes in the Safety Net," NBER Working Paper 21676, October 2015; A. Bee and J. Mitchell, "Do Older Americans Have More Income Than We Think?" SEHSD Working Paper 2017–39, U.S. Census Bureau, 2017.   Go to ⤴︎
5. A. Bee, B. Meyer, and J. Sullivan, "The Validity of Consumption Data: Are the Consumer Expenditure Interview and Diary Surveys Informative?" NBER Working Paper 18308, August 2012, and Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, University of Chicago Press, pp. 204–40, 2015.   Go to ⤴︎
6. See Figure 1 in B. Meyer and J. Sullivan, "Consumption and Income Inequality in the U.S. Since the 1960s," NBER Working Paper 23655, August 2017.   Go to ⤴︎
7. C. DeNavas-Walt and B. Proctor, "Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014," Current Population Reports, P60-252, 2015. Go to ⤴︎
8. Adding non-cash benefits (such as the value of food stamps and housing and school lunch subsidies as calculated by the Census Bureau) leads to slightly lower inequality, but the changes over time are similar to those for after-tax money income.   Go to ⤴︎
9. See B. Meyer and J. Sullivan, "Consumption and Income Inequality in the U.S. Since the 1960s," NBER Working Paper 23655, August 2017, for more details. The statistics are based on the authors' calculations. All income data are from the Current Population Survey and all consumption data are from the Consumer Expenditure Interview Survey. Go to ⤴︎
10. T. Piketty and E. Saez, "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913—1998," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(1), 2003, pp. 1–41.   Go to ⤴︎
11. J. Larrimore, R. Burkhauser, G. Auten, and P. Armour, "Recent Trends in U.S. Top Income Shares in Tax Record Data Using More Comprehensive Measures of Income Including Accrued Capital Gains," NBER Working Paper 23007, December 2016, revised June 2017; G. Auten and D. Splinter, "Using Tax Data to Measure Long-Term Trends in U.S. Income Inequality," Working Paper, Office of Tax Analysis, U.S. Treasury Department, 2016. Go to ⤴︎

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