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Using the P90/P10 index to measure US inquality trends with current population survey data: a view from inside the Census Bureau vaults

Richard Burkhauser (), Shuaizhang Feng () and Stephen Jenkins ()

No 2007-14, ISER Working Paper Series from Institute for Social and Economic Research

Abstract: The March Current Population Survey (CPS) is the primary data source for estimation of levels and trends in labor earnings and income inequality in the USA. Time-inconsistency problems related to top coding in theses data have led many researchers to use the ratio of the 90th and 10th percentiles of these distributions (P90/P10) rather than a more traditional summary measure of inequality. With access to public use and restricted-access internal CPS data, and bounding methods, we show that using P90/P10 does not completely obviate time-inconsistency problems, especially for household income inequality trends. Using internal data, we create consistent cell mean values for all top-coded public use values that, when used with public use data, closely track inequality trends in labor earnings and household income using internal data. But estimates of longer-term inequality trends with these corrected data based on P90/P10 differ from those based on the Gini coefficient. The choice of inequality measure matters.

Date: 2007-06-02
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https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications ... ers/iser/2007-14.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: USING THE P90/P10 INDEX TO MEASURE U.S. INEQUALITY TRENDS WITH CURRENT POPULATION SURVEY DATA: A VIEW FROM INSIDE THE CENSUS BUREAU VAULTS (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Using the P90/P10 Index to Measure U.S. Inequality Trends with Current Population Survey Data: A View From Inside the Census Bureau Vaults (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: Using the P90/P10 Index to Measure US Inequality Trends with Current Population Survey Data: A View from Inside the Census Bureau Vaults (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: Using the P90/P10 Index to Measure US Inequality Trends with Current Population Survey Data: A View from Inside the Census Bureau Vaults* (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: Using the P90/P10 Index to Measure US Inequality Trends with Current Population Survey Data: A View from Inside the Census Bureau Vaults (2007) Downloads
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