I sometimes say that I feel as if I have a pretty good grasp on the US economy–except that my understanding has about a 2-3 year lag. For example, right now I feel as if I’ve got a pretty good understanding of events up through about May 2020, but I’m still trying to develop a … Continue reading Income Inequality for US Households
The Congressional Budget Office has published “The Distribution of Household Income, 2018” (August 2021). It takes a couple of years to pull this data together in a reliable way. The report is full of data and figures about inequality of income over time, together with what the patterns of inequality would look like with adjustments … Continue reading Some Snapshots of US Income Inequality
Income refers to what is received in a certain period of time, which is why we refer to “annual income” or “weekly paycheck.” Wealth refers to the total that has been accumulated over time, which is why we refer to a “retirement account.” It feels as if there should be an intuitive connection between them: … Continue reading Wealth and Income Inequality: Only a Weak Correlation?
Like many other concepts in economics, \”income\” is an idea that is only simple if you don\’t think about it too much. Moreover, one\’s measure of the inequality of income will depend to some extent on the measure of income that is chosen. One well-known example is whether income inequality is measured before taxes or … Continue reading What Should Be Included in Income Inequality?
For a basic overview of income inequality in the United States, the Congressional Budget Office provides a useful overview in its report \”The Distribution of Household Income, 2017\” (October 2020). Versions of this report have been coming out for about 40 years. The CBO uses what is called the Statistics of Income, which is based on … Continue reading US Income Inequality, According to CBO
It’s well-known that inequality of wages and incomes is greater in the United States than in many countries of Europe. But does that happen because of a greater equality of wages themselves? Or does it happen because European countries are more active in redistributing from higher to lower incomes? Or some mixture of both? Thomas … Continue reading Predistribution vs. Redistribution
If the US economy had considerable intergenerational mobility–that is, if the children growing up in lower-income households had a reasonably good chance of ending up as adults in higher-income households, and conversely the children growing up in higher-income households had a reasonably good chance of ending up as adults in lower-income households–then I would be … Continue reading Evidence on Declining Intergenerational Mobility in the United States
Back in 2010, Jonathan Heathcote, Giovanni L. Violante, and Fabrizio Perri, published a study that compiled data from a number of publicly available sources to measure the evolution of US inequality in income, wages, and wealth over time, with data up through 2006 (“Unequal we stand: An empirical analysis of economic inequality in the United … Continue reading Some Wage Inequality Ratios
One might expect that certain sectors of the economy will have faster productivity growth than others: for example, productivity seems likely to grow faster for semiconductor manufacturers than for a gas station. But one striking change both in the US economy and around the world in the last couple of decades is that looking at … Continue reading The Divergence in Firm Productivity Within the Same Sector: McKinsey Weighs In
Writer and Poet Roya Hakakian arrived in the United States from Iran in 1985. Her most recent book is A Beginner’s Guide to America: For the Immigrant and the Curious (2021). The most recent issue of Capitalism and Society publishes a short excerpt from the book titled “When New Immigrants First Go to an American … Continue reading When New Immigrants First Go to an American Supermarket