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The literature on inequality has generally focused on the analysis of annual per capita income. This paper adopts a different approach by considering the life-cycle dimension of inequality and convergence between economies from 1960 to 2000. We analyze the present value of the set of incomes individuals obtain throughout their whole life (permanent income). On the basis of this approach, various simulations are made to determine the effect on inequality in permanent income of variables such as survival rates and the long-run growth rates in current income. The results indicate that survival rates are an important source of inequality. Inequality in permanent income is about one third higher than in current income. The implication of this finding is that if the whole life-cycle dimension is not considered, the level of inequality among economies is being underestimated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universitat de València and Ivie

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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