Cross Sectional Facts for Macroeconomists

24 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2009 Last revised: 5 Jul 2010

See all articles by Dirk Krueger

Dirk Krueger

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Fabrizio Perri

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Luigi Pistaferri

Stanford University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Giovanni L. Violante

New York University, Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: December 2009

Abstract

This paper provides an introduction to the special issue of the Review of Economic Dynamics on "Cross Sectional Facts for Macroeconomists''. The issue documents, for nine countries, the level and the evolution, over time and over the life cycle, of several dimensions of economic inequality, including wages, labor earnings, income, consumption, and wealth. After describing the motivation and the common methodology underlying this empirical project, we discuss selected results, with an emphasis on cross-country comparisons. Most, but not all, countries experienced substantial increases in wages and earnings inequality, over the last three decades. While the trend in the skill premium differed widely across countries, the experience premium rose and the gender premium fell virtually everywhere. At a higher frequency, earnings inequality appears to be strongly counter-cyclical. In all countries, government redistribution through taxes and transfers reduced the level, the trend and the cyclical fluctuations in income inequality. The rise in income inequality was stronger at the bottom of the distribution. Consumption inequality increased less than disposable income inequality, and tracked the latter much more closely at the top than at the bottom of the distribution. Measuring the age-profile of inequality is challenging because of the interplay of time and cohort effects.

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Dirk and Perri, Fabrizio and Pistaferri, Luigi and Violante, Giovanni L., Cross Sectional Facts for Macroeconomists (December 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15554. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1518747

Dirk Krueger (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
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Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
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215-898-6691 (Phone)
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HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.upenn.edu/~dkrueger/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Fabrizio Perri

Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-998-0251 (Phone)
212-995-4218 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/~fperri/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Luigi Pistaferri

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Giovanni L. Violante

New York University, Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-992-9771 (Phone)
212-995-4186 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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