The meaning and measurement of income mobility

Gary S. Fields, Efe A. Ok

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Income mobility may be seen as arising from two sources: (i) the transfer of income among individuals with total income held constant, and (ii) a change in the total amount of income available. In this paper, we propose several sensible properties defining the concept of income mobility and show that an easily applicable measure of mobility is uniquely implied by these properties. We also show that the resulting measure is additively decomposable into the two sources listed above, namely, mobility due to the transfer of income within a given structure and mobility due to economic growth or contraction. Finally, these results are compared and contrasted with other mobility concepts and measures in the literature. Journal of Economic Literature. Classification Numbers: D31, D63.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)349-377
    Number of pages29
    JournalJournal of Economic Theory
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Nov 1996

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics


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