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A Comparison of Alternative Measures of Economic Well-Being for Germany and the United States

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Richard V. Burkhauser, Joachim R. Frick, Johannes Schwarze

In: The Review of Income and Wealth 43 (1997), 2, S. 153-171


This paper, using six waves of data (1984-89) from the United States Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), compares economic well-being using single year income, multi-year income, and wealth as measures. We find inequality to be greater in the United States than in Germany regardless of the measure used. However, the relative degree of inequality varies across measures. When we disaggregate our data by age and gender categories, in general we find greater inequality in the United States, but wealth inequality among older Germans is greater than it is among older Americans.

JEL-Classification: D63;D31
Keywords: Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement, Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions