Back to the calendar
UCLouvain Economics Seminar - Marta Boczon, University of Pittsburh
By UCLouvain Economics Seminar

Marta Boczon

University of Pittsburgh

will give a presentation on

Quantifying Uncertainties in Estimates of Income and Wealth Inequality


I measure the uncertainty affecting estimates of economic inequality in theUS and investigate how accounting for properly estimated standard errors can affect theresults of empirical and structural macroeconomic studies. In my analysis, I rely upon twodata sets: the 1989–2019 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), which is a triennial surveyof household financial condition, and the 1991–2012 Individual Tax Model Public Use File(PUF), an annual sample of individual income tax returns. While focusing on six income andwealth shares within the top 10 percent, my results suggest that ignoring uncertainties inestimated income and wealth shares can lead to statistically imprecise conclusions about thepast and current levels of top income and wealth inequality, and therefore, lead to inaccuratepredictions and potentially ineffective policy recommendations. My analysis suggests thatfor the six top-decile income shares under consideration, the PUF estimates are considerablybetter than those constructed using the SCF; for wealth shares of the top 10 to the top 0.5percent, the SCF estimates appear to be more reliable than the PUF estimates; finally, forthe two most granular wealth shares, the top 0.1 and 0.01 percent, both data sets presentnon-trivial challenges that cannot be readily addressed.

Link to the seminar


Meeting ID: 953 4296 4800
Access Code: 554589