12/16/2018

News

Measuring Income Inequality in the US

This brief discusses in depth the methodological issues of measuring income inequality in the US as discussed by Rose (2018). The primary issues concern different studies’ definitions of income, datasets, units of analysis, income measures (market incomes only; total cash income with government transfers; and posttax, posttransfer income), income adjustments for household size, and the […]

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How Different Studies Measure Income Inequality in the US

Piketty and Saez (2003) found that income inequality rose substantially between 1979 and 2002 because the top 10 percent of the income distribution took 91 percent of the income growth during that period. As the real incomes of the top 10 percent soared, the incomes of the bottom 90 percent stagnated. Piketty and Saez’s findings […]

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More Evidence That Income Stagnation Is a Myth

A few weeks back, I wrote about a new study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It convinced me that, although typical incomes are rising slowly, they are still rising and that, over long periods, the increases are significant. To cite one statistic from that column: Average inflation-adjusted household incomes for the middle fifth of […]

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The Benefits of Homeownership Mean We Should Still Believe in the American Dream

Decades of evidence suggest this premise is correct: Asset ownership generally improves the well-being of families and provides an irreplaceable rung on the ladder to a stable place in the middle class. Even so, the share of households owning a home or other assets has fallen over the last decade, particularly among vulnerable groups like […]

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Automation and the future of the African American workforce

Now automation affects the US workforce is largely a question of which jobs and activities can be most easily automated. At a macro level, change will take time to occur. It’s not likely that a million truck drivers will be thrown out of work in the next few years, because the technologies to automate these […]

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The Distribution of Household Income, 2015

In 2015, average household income before accounting for means-tested transfers and federal taxes was $20,000 for the lowest quintile and $292,000 for the highest quintile. After transfers and taxes, those averages were $33,000 and $215,000.

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The Labor Force Participation Rate Trend and Its Projections

A labor force participation rate that is at or above its long-run trend is consistent with a labor market at or above full employment. In 2018, the estimated rate is at its trend of 62.8%, suggesting that the labor market is at full employment. Studying the population’s demographic makeup and labor trends for different groups […]

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The myth of stagnant incomes

Unless you’ve been hibernating in the Himalayas, you must know of the recent surge in economic inequality. It’s not just that the rich are getting richer. The rest of us — say politicians, pundits and scholars — are stagnating. The top 1 percent have grabbed most income gains, while average Americans are stuck in the […]

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Workers in Alternative Employment Arrangements

A May 2017 survey collected information about workers who were in four alternative employment arrangements—people employed as independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract firms. These data were collected in a special supplemental survey to the Current Population Survey, the monthly household survey that provides information on employment and […]

Research & Studies
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Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operators (Job Market Paper)

Even in a unionized environment, where work tasks are similar, hourly wages are identical, and tenure dictates promotions, female workers earn $0.89 on the male-worker dollar (weekly earnings). We use confidential administrative data on bus and train operators from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to show that the weekly earnings gap can be explained […]

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Improved Middle-Income Estimates by Pew Research, But More Improvements Needed

There are few issues, if any, more important than income and poverty. The most successful political jurisdictions, where national or sub national, are characterized by rising incomes and falling rates of poverty. A large and growing middle-class is key to that. But measuring the size and trend of the middle-class is easier said than done. […]

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Why Aren’t U.S. Workers Working?

Labor force participation among U.S. men and women ages 25 to 54 has been declining for nearly 20 years, a stark contrast with rising participation in Canada over this period. Three-fourths of the difference between the two countries can be explained by the growing gap in labor force attachment of women. A key factor is […]

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Medical-Marijuana Legalization Leads to Baby Boomlet, Paper Says

The tide of medical-marijuana legalization making its way through American states is leading to a notable uptick in the birth of babies, according to a new paper published by the National Bureau for Economic Research. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states and Washington, D.C., allow the once verboten drug to be […]

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More people left California in 2017 than moved here. Who they are and where they went

About 130,000 more residents left California for other states last year than came here from them, as high costs left many residents without a college degree looking for an exit, according to a Bee review of the latest census estimates. They most often went to cheaper, nearby states – and Texas. Since 2001, about 410,000 […]

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The Decline of African-American and Hispanic Wealth since the Great Recession

Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, I find that the ratio in standard net worth NW between African-Americans and (non-Hispanic) whites was the same in 2007 as in 1983 (0.19) but then fell to 0.14 in 2016. The wealth ratio between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites climbed considerably between 1983 and 2007, from 0.16 […]

Research & Studies
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