Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1872303
 
 

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A "Second Opinion" on the Economic Health of the American Middle Class


Richard V. Burkhauser


Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM); University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute

Jeff Larrimore


Cornell University - Department of Economics

Kosali Ilayperuma Simon


Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

June 2011

NBER Working Paper No. w17164

Abstract:     
Researchers considering levels and trends in the resources available to the middle class traditionally measure the pre-tax cash income of either tax units or households. In this paper, we demonstrate that this choice carries significant implications for assessing income trends. Focusing on tax units rather than households greatly reduces measured growth in middle class income. Furthermore, excluding the effect of taxes and the value of in-kind benefits further reduces observed improvements in the resources of the middle class. Finally, we show how these distinctions change the observed distribution of benefits from the tax exclusion of employer provided health insurance.

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Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

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Date posted: June 25, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Burkhauser, Richard V. and Larrimore, Jeff and Simon, Kosali Ilayperuma, A "Second Opinion" on the Economic Health of the American Middle Class (June 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17164. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1872303

Contact Information

Richard V. Burkhauser (Contact Author)
Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM) ( email )
120 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute ( email )
Alan Gilbert Bldg, 7th Floor
161 Barry Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
Australia
Jeff Larrimore
Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )
414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States
Kosali Ilayperuma Simon
Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )
1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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