64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

Measuring Inequality in Income, Consumption and Wealth


Mr David Johnson


  • DJ
    Mr David Johnson
  • MG
    Marina Gindelsky
  • AS
    Ms Amanda Sinclair
  • JF
    Jonathan Fisher
  • JZ
    Mr Jorrit Zwijnenburg
  • Category: International Statistical Institute


    Panel includes four papers
    Paper 1: Statistics Canada’s Sub-annual Distributions of Household Economic Accounts
    After the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic Statistics Canada began developing sub-annual Distributions of Household Economic Accounts (DHEA). Leveraging the agency’s long standing Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD-M), as well as some new nowcasting efforts, survey and administrative data sources, the team was able to produce quarterly DHEAs which lagged the reference period by approximately 6 months. Statistics Canada is continually working to enhance its sub-annual DHEAs, including adding further granularity and improving differences between micro and macro data sources. This presentation will provide an overview of Statistics Canada’s sub-annual

    Paper 2: International Efforts to Measure Disparities in Income, Consumption and Wealth
    The OECD and Eurostat have developed methodology and engaged in several rounds of data collection to measure disparities in line with national accounts (DNA). These estimates complement existing indicators on economic inequality by providing more comprehensive measures of inequality, by extending the analysis from income to consumption and saving, and by providing results that are fully consistent with macroeconomic aggregates. This paper presents the latest developments of the DNA work. The results show that Mexico and the United States record the highest income disparities, with Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Slovenia on the other end of the spectrum. The paper also examines differences across socio-demographic characteristics of individuals and households in various quintiles.

    Paper 3: What Money Can Buy: A Joint Distribution of Personal Income and Personal Consumption Expenditures
    The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) have recently constructed a new joint distribution of personal income and personal consumption expenditures. As a prototype exercise for 2019, this is the first such joint distribution for the U.S., consistent with national accounts. By developing a new methodology to link these distributions, BEA and BLS will allow users to analyze the distributions of income and consumption expenditures for the same quantiles. Though such linkages are challenging and have limitations, this exercise presents an important step in bridging that gap for national accounts.

    Paper 4: Intergenerational Mobility using Income, Consumption, and Wealth
    We use fifty years of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to study the intergenerational correlation in income, consumption, and wealth for the same individuals and find that income exhibits the highest intergenerational correlation, or lowest mobility, followed closely by consumption and a larger difference for wealth. Our findings highlight the importance of using the same sample to study the three measures, as our consumption rank-rank slope is higher than the income rank-rank slope found in the literature, but our consumption rank-rank slope is lower than our own income rank-rank slope. Relative mobility is lowest for income, followed by consumption and wealth. However, we find that high wealth in childhood supplements low income or low consumption in childhood, increasing upward mobility for those with low income or consumption in childhood.