Trends and Levels of Income Inequality in Wisconsin, 1919-1941: The Effect of Using Different Data Sources

16 Pages Posted: 17 May 2017 Last revised: 13 Jun 2017

Vincent Geloso

Bates College

Phillip Magness

Berry College - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 17, 2017

Abstract

In this short note, we use two different sources available for the state of Wisconsin in order to assess the quality of income inequality measurements in the United States between the two World Wars. By comparing estimates derived from federal income tax records with estimates derived from the state income tax for Wisconsin, we find that each series produces highly different patterns and levels in inequality for the state. These findings attest to the high sensitivity of modern distributional estimation techniques to issues of quality with their underlying data sources. Noting this concern, we argue for greater caution in the use of income tax data for measuring historical income inequality.

Keywords: Inequality, Top Incomes, US Economic History

JEL Classification: H2, N32

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent and Magness, Phillip, Trends and Levels of Income Inequality in Wisconsin, 1919-1941: The Effect of Using Different Data Sources (May 17, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2968587 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2968587

Vincent Geloso

Bates College ( email )

Department of Economics
Lewiston, ME
United States

Phillip Magness (Contact Author)

Berry College - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Berry, GA 30149
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
54
rank
348,447
Abstract Views
800
PlumX