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Towards a measure of income inequality freed from the volatility caused by variations in the rate of unemployment

Rubens Cysne ()

No 560, Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) from FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil)

Abstract: By mixing together inequalities based on cyclical variables, such as unemployment, and on structural variables, such as education, usual measurements of income inequality add objects of a di§erent economic nature. Since jobs are not acquired or lost as fast as education or skills, this aggreagation leads to a loss of relavant economic information. Here I propose a di§erent procedure for the calculation of inequality. The procedure uses economic theory to construct an inequality measure of a long-run character, the calculation of which can be performed, though, with just one set of cross-sectional observations. Technically, the procedure is based on the uniqueness of the invariant distribution of wage o§ers in a job-search model. Workers should be pre-grouped by the distribution of wage o§ers they see, and only between-group inequalities should be considered. This construction incorporates the fact that the average wages of all workers in the same group tend to be equalized by the continuous turnover in the job market.

Date: 2004-08-01
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