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Accounting for the Distribution of Income in the U.S. National Accounts

Publication Date:
Jan 2012
Project Programs:
Social Inequality

This paper presents simple methods to adjust the household survey (Current Population Survey (CPS)) to more closely match the national accounts measure of personal income. Using the underlying distribution in the CPS along with these adjustments yields a higher mean and median adjusted household income than the reported household income, and yields a larger increase in inequality. Adjusting the distribution by the income distribution available from tax records, increases inequality further, but does not change the trend. Finally, creating a more complete measure of personal income by imputing the value of in-kind health care benefits yields a smaller increase in inequality.

The Russell Sage Foundation
Journal of the Social Sciences

The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.

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