Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

© 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley. The census bureau defines a households income as money income, which equals market income plus cash payments to households.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "© 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley. The census bureau defines a households income as money income, which equals market income plus cash payments to households."— Presentation transcript:

1 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley

2

3 The census bureau defines a households income as money income, which equals market income plus cash payments to households by the government. Market income equals wages, interest, rent, and profit earned by the household in factor markets, before paying income taxes. Measuring Economic Inequality

4 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The Distribution of Income Figure 19.1 shows the distribution of income across the 117 million households in the United States in Measuring Economic Inequality

5 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The mode income is the most common income and was about $13,000. The median income is the level of income that separates the population into two groups of equal size and was $50,233. The mean income is the average income and was $67,609. Measuring Economic Inequality

6 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley A distribution in which the mean exceeds the median and the median exceeds the mode is positively skewed, which means it has a long tail of high values. The distribution of income in the United States is positively skewed. Measuring Economic Inequality

7 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Figure 19.2 shows the distribution of income shares for the United States in Measuring Economic Inequality

8 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley In 2007: The poorest 20% of households received only 3.4% of the total income. The middle 20% received 14.8% of total income. The richest 20% received 49.7% of total income. Measuring Economic Inequality

9 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The Income Lorenz Curve The income Lorenz curve graphs the cumulative percentage of income earned against the cumulative percentage of households. Figure 19.3 shows the income Lorenz curve. Measuring Economic Inequality

10 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The vertical axis of a Lorenz curve is the cumulative percentage of total income. The horizontal axis is the cumulative percentage of households. Measuring Economic Inequality

11 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley If everyone has the same income, the income Lorenz curve is a 45 degree line from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. This line is called the line of equality. The Lorenz curve shows the cumulative distribution of income. Measuring Economic Inequality

12 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The Distribution of Wealth A households wealth is the value of all the things that it owns at a point in time. The distribution of wealth is another way of examining the degree of economic inequality. Measuring Economic Inequality

13 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley A wealth Lorenz curve measures the distribution of wealth. The distribution of wealth is even more unequally distributed than income. Measuring Economic Inequality

14 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Wealth or Income? Wealth is a stock of assets and income is a flow of earnings that result from a given stock of wealth. The reason that wealth is more unequally distributed than income is that wealth does not measure the quantity of human capitalonly income reflects the quantity of human capital. Because the distribution of wealth excludes human capital, the distribution of income is a more accurate measure of economic inequality. Measuring Economic Inequality

15 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Annual or Lifetime Income and Wealth? A households income and wealth change over time. A household headed by a young person starts out with moderate income and accumulates wealth for retirement years. A middle-age headed household is in its highest income years and enjoys the highest level of wealth. A households headed by an older, retired person has lower income and is consuming, rather than accumulating, its wealth. Measuring Economic Inequality

16 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Trends in Inequality To measure inequality as an index number, we use the Gini ratio, which equals the ratio of blue area to the red area in the two figures below. Measuring Economic Inequality

17 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley With perfect equality, the Lorenz curve is the line of equality and the Gini ratio is zero. Measuring Economic Inequality

18 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley With the most extreme inequalityone person has all the incomethe Lorenz curve runs along the axes and the Gini ratio is one. Measuring Economic Inequality

19 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The closer the Gini ratio is to one, the more unequal is the distribution of income. In 2007, the U.S. Gini ratio was a bit more than Measuring Economic Inequality

20 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Figure 19.5 shows the U.S. Gini ratio from 1972 to The Gini ratio shows that the distribution of income in the United States has become more unequal. Despite the change in the definition in 1992, the trend is still visible. Measuring Economic Inequality

21 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Poverty Poverty is a situation in which a households income is too low to be able to buy the quantities of food, shelter, and clothing that are deemed necessary. Poverty is a relative concept. In 2007, the poverty level calculated by the Social Security Administration for a four-person family was $21, million Americans lived in households with incomes below this poverty level12.5 percent of the total population in Measuring Economic Inequality

22 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The distribution of poverty by race is unequal: In 2007, 8.2 percent of white Americans lived in poverty compared to 22 percent of Hispanic-origin Americans and 25 percent of African Americans. Poverty is also influence by household status: More than 28 percent of households in which the householder is a female with no husband present had incomes below the poverty level. Despite the widening of the income distribution, poverty rates have fallen. Measuring Economic Inequality

23 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The Sources of Economic Inequality Inequality arises from unequal labor market outcomes and from unequal ownership of capital. Two significant features of labor markets contribute to income differences among individuals: Human capital Discrimination

24 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Human Capital The more human capital a person possesses, the more income that person likely earns, other things remaining the same. On the demand side of the labor market, high-skilled workers generate a larger marginal revenue product than low-skilled workers. So firms are willing to pay a higher wage rate for high- skilled labor. The Sources of Economic Inequality

25 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Figure 19.6(a) shows the difference in demand curves for high-skilled versus low-skilled labor. The Sources of Economic Inequality

26 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley On the supply side of the labor market, high-skilled workers incur a cost of acquiring their skillsmoney costs as well as time costs. So high-skilled workers are willing to supply labor only at wage rates that compensate them for those costs, which exceed the wage rates at which low-skilled workers are willing to supply labor. The Sources of Economic Inequality

27 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Figure 19.6(b) shows the difference in supply curves for high-skilled versus low-skilled labor. The Sources of Economic Inequality

28 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Figure 19.6(c) shows the difference in equilibrium wage rates. The higher demand and lower supply for high- skilled workers relative to low-skilled workers creates a higher equilibrium wage rate for those workers with greater human capital. The Sources of Economic Inequality

29 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Trends in Inequality Figure 19.7 shows how technological change and globalization combined with skill differences have widened the income gap between low-skilled and high-skilled labor. The demand for low-skilled labor has decreased and the wage rate has fallen. The Sources of Economic Inequality

30 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The demand for high- skilled labor has increased and the wage rate has risen. The Sources of Economic Inequality

31 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Discrimination Human capital differences can explain some of the economic inequality we observe. Discrimination is another possible source of income inequality. If the marginal revenue product of one race or one sex is perceived to be higher than that of another race or another sex, the equilibrium wage rates will vary across each racial or gender group, despite holding the level of human capital constant. The Sources of Economic Inequality

32 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Suppose that firms perceive white males to be more productive workers than black females. Then the perceived marginal revenue product (which is also the labor demand curve) for white men would be higher than that for black women. The Sources of Economic Inequality

33 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Figure 19.8 shows the potential effect of discrimination of the wage rates of white men and black women. If black women are discriminated against, the perceived MRP is lower and their wage rate and employment level decrease. The Sources of Economic Inequality

34 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley If white men are discriminated for, the perceived MRP is higher and their wage rate and employment level increase. The Sources of Economic Inequality

35 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Economists disagree to the extent that discrimination pervades the labor market. One line of reasoning states: Firms that discriminate would have higher production costs (pay higher wages for the same marginal revenue product) than those that do not. If this line of reasoning is correct, 1. The profit margins for the firms practicing discrimination will be lower. 2. The market prices of their goods and services would be higher than non-discriminating firms. The Sources of Economic Inequality

36 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Either way, the market pressures increase the opportunity cost to firms (and the consumers who buy their product) for practicing discrimination, eventually eliminating these practices. Another line of reasoning is that claims of sex discrimination can be explained by differences between the men and women regarding their willingness, on the average, to specialize in providing income generating labor versus providing non-income generating labor in the home. The Sources of Economic Inequality

37 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley More women than men work at home for a portion of their adult life while engaged in child rearing and/or running the household. This allocation of time means that womens wages will be lower, on the average, than mens wages. Accounting for this difference in labor specialization has been found to explain much of the wage differentials between men and women. The Sources of Economic Inequality

38 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Unequal Wealth The inequality of wealth (excluding human capital) is much greater than the inequality of income. This greater wealth inequality arises from two sources: Life-cycle saving patterns and transfers of wealth between generations. The significant aspects of intergenerational wealth transfers that increase economic inequality is that marriage concentrates wealth The Sources of Economic Inequality

39 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Income Redistribution The three main ways governments in the United States redistribute income are Income taxes Income maintenance programs Subsidized services

40 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Income Taxes The U.S. federal government and most state governments tax incomes. By taxing incomes of different levels at different tax rates, economic inequality can be decreased. A progressive income tax is one that taxes income at an average rate that increases with income. The U.S. income tax system and all state income tax systems are progressive income tax systems. Income Redistribution

41 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley A regressive income tax is one that taxes income at an average rate that decreases with income. A proportional income tax (also called a flat-rate income tax) is one that taxes income at a constant average rate for all income levels. Income Redistribution

42 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Income Maintenance Programs Three major types of programs provide direct payments to individuals: Social Security programs Unemployment compensation Welfare programs Income Redistribution

43 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Subsidized Services A great deal of redistribution takes the form of subsidized servicesservices provided by the government at prices below the cost of production. An example is primary and secondary public education, as well as state colleges and universities. The students at these institutions generally pay tuition and fees that range from 20 to 25% of the actual cost of educating a college student. The families of these students enjoy a sizeable subsidy for acquiring human capital. Income Redistribution

44 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The Big Tradeoff Redistributing income leads to a tradeoff between equity and efficiency, known as the big tradeoff. Programs to redistribute income are inefficient for three reasons: The process of income redistribution uses up resources that could have otherwise been used for producing goods and services. Redistribution of income requires taxes to be imposed on the economy, which was shown in an earlier chapter to generate a deadweight loss in the markets that are taxed. Income Redistribution

45 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Income redistribution decreases the incentives for 1. Taxpaying workers to provide labor when leisure is a normal good (by decreasing income from work) and 2. Income assistance recipients to provide labor and earn income. A major challenge in the U. S. today is finding ways to assist the poorest identifiable group: young minority women who have not completed high school, have dependent children, and live without a spouse in the household. Income Redistribution

46 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley The long-term solution to their plight is education and job trainingacquiring human capital. The short-term solution is enforcing child support payments from absent fathers and former husbands, and providing welfare assistance. But it must be designed to minimize the disincentive to become self-sufficient. Income Redistribution

47 © 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley Welfare reform occurred in 1996 when the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was implemented. TANF is a block grant to the states, not an open-ended entitlement program for individuals. An adult member of a family receiving assistance must either work or perform community service and there is a five-year limit for receiving assistance. Income Redistribution


Download ppt "© 2010 Pearson Addison-Wesley. The census bureau defines a households income as money income, which equals market income plus cash payments to households."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google