[OPE-L:2869] Re: Re: income distribution

From: Patrick L. Mason (pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu)
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 10:48:16 EDT

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The appropriate measure of income to use depends on the problem that one is
interested in. The government defines family as two or more persons with a
common residence and who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. A
household is different from a family. Households include single persons
without children, as well as two or more persons with a common residence
but who are not related by blood, marriage, or adoption. The individual
distribution of income may differ still.

Once the appropriate unit of analysis has been decided on (family,
household, individual), one must then decide whether to examine the
distribution of earnings (that is, wages and salaries), income (labor
income plus property income plus transfer payments), or wealth.

Wealth information is more difficult to attain, but Jerry and others are
correct that there is much greater inequality in the distribution of wealth
than in the distribution income.

Regardless of unit of analysis or economic outcome, inequality is the US
has been increasing in the last 25 years.

The difficult with analyzing inter- and intra-class changes in inequality
are more conceptual than empirical. That is to say, if one can develop a
useful class analysis then there is probably sufficient data to get a
handle on what has been going on.

There are other messages that I would like to response to, but I'm headed
out of town for a couple of days. I'll try to respond when I return.

peace, patrick

At 01:44 AM 4/18/00 -0400, you wrote:
>I realize this discussion began with a comment on family income, but
>unless things have changed recently, the inequality of family incomes in
>the US is a good deal less than the inequality of all incomes. The use
>of family incomes is an old trick that tends to remove the lower end.
>Poorer people (adults, that is) are less likely to be in families.
>Figures for Blacks are particularly skewed when one focuses on families.
>Andrew Kliman

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