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Опубликовано на портале: 06-01-2004
David Lam
Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 1997, Volume 1B
This paper surveys a variety of areas in which demographic variables may play an important role in the distribution of income. The first issue considered is the relationship between age structure and inequality, analyzed in Section 2. In addition to its direct importance, the case of age structure is instructive because it demonstrates the need to carefully model the effects of compositional changes when working with measures of dispersion. While compositional effects on measures of dispersion are considerably more complex than compositional effects on means, they often lend themselves to useful analytical decompositions.

Many researchers argue that households, rather than individuals, should be used as the basis for analysis of the distribution of income. Using the household as the unit of analysis introduces a host of demographic issues relating to marriage, fertility, and household living arrangements. Section 3 focuses on the large literature that has analyzed the effects on the distribution of income among married couples of marital sorting and the joint labor supply behavior of husbands and wives. Section 4 extends the analysis beyond married couples to the household, analyzing issues related to the choice of recipient unit and the treatment of family size.

Another important topic with broad applications is the issue of changing population composition due to differential fertility, migration, and mortality by income classes. Section 5 analyzes the effects of differential fertility across income classes on the distribution of income. The analysis includes consideration of the role of intergenerational mobility across income classes.

Section 6 discusses the attention given to the effects of population growth on relative wages by the classical economists and considers theoretical issues in the link between changes in factor supplies and changes in the distribution of income. Empirical evidence on the link between population growth, wages, and inequality in historical and modern populations is briefly surveyed.

Section 7 discusses the substantial changes in wage inequality observed in the US in recent decades, and considers evidence on the role of demographic variables, especially age structure, in those changes. Most research suggests that changes in labor supply associated with the baby boom played a substantial role in some of the changes in relative wages observed in the 1970s and 1980s. The empirical evidence also demonstrates, however, that demographic variables are considerably less important than changes in the structure of labor demand. Section 8 concludes the paper.
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