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 […]
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 […]
By funding public schools, health systems, and social services, state and local governments provide the resources and services that support children’s healthy development. But children in some states tend to do better than others on measures of key educational and health outcomes. We examine how much states spend on children, including education, health, income security, and social services spending. We find substantial differences in how much states spend on children and discuss the implications of these differences. We also highlight the possibility that population trends will lead to an even wider spending gap in the future.
Tax and transfer programs can create significant bonuses and penalties for low- and moderate-income cohabiters with children. We find that federal tax laws can create marriage penalties that reach almost 10 percent of earnings for our hypothetical couples earning $40,000 or $50,000 a year. In contrast, a prototypical couple earning $20,000 a year could receive a marriage bonus in excess of 10 percent of earnings. Because the transfer programs we consider largely treat cohabiting parents the same as married couples, they create neither significant marriage penalties nor bonuses; however, there may be instances in which couples are misclassified and receive transfer benefits as separate households when cohabiting which could lead to marriage penalties from those programs.