Advances in the Measurement of Discrimination, Inequality and Mobility
[ MeDIM ]

Project supported by the Luxembourg Fonds National de la Recherche (contract FNR/06/15/08) and by core funding for CEPS/INSTEAD by the Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Research of Luxembourg.

Scientific publications

Hildebrand V. & Pi Alperin M.-N. & Van Kerm P. (forthcoming), 'Measuring and accounting for differences in the 'deprivation gap' of Portuguese immigrants in Luxembourg' , Review of Income and Wealth.

Abstract:  This paper examines the relative well-being of Portuguese immigrants in Luxembourg by looking at indicators of material deprivation. We document material deprivation differences between immigrants and nationals—the “deprivation gap”—and measure the extent to which income differentials (and other sociodemographic differences) explain this gap using a combination of non-parametric methods and a versatile graphical device. We find a large and significant deprivation gap against Portuguese immigrants, whatever the indicator considered. The extent to which the gap is merely a reflection of differences in income, however, depends on what deprivation items are taken into consideration. Income differences almost fully account for material deprivation differences when the latter is measured using the items included in the official EU social indicator of material deprivation. Inclusion of housing condition indicators mitigates this relationship and we then find compelling evidence that the deprivation gap is not entirely accounted for by income differentials.

Van Kerm P. (2013), 'Generalized measures of wage differentials' , Empirical Economics, 45(1), 465-482.

Abstract:  This paper considers measures ofwage differentials not solely determined by mean comparisons but summarizing differences across complete wage distributions. The approach builds on considerations of risk or inequality aversion and on standard expected utility concepts. In an application to the gender pay gap in Luxembourg the disadvantage of women persists according to the proposed measures: lower mean wages forwomen are not compensated by differences in higher moments of wage distributions (e.g., by less dispersion) at least for realistic assumptions about women preferences toward risk and inequality. The paper also illustrates an original empirical model for wage distributions in the presence of covariates and under endogenous labour market participation.

Mussard S. & Pi Alperin M.-N. (2011), 'Poverty Growth in Scandinavian Countries: A Sen Multi-decomposition' , Economic Modelling, 28(6), 2842-2853.

Abstract:  We show in this paper that the growth rate of the Sen index is multi-decomposable, that is, decomposable simultaneously by subgroups and income sources. The multi-decomposition of the poverty growth yields respectively: the growth rate of the poverty incidence (poverty rate) decomposed by subgroups, the growth rate of the poverty depth (poverty gap ratios) decomposed by sources and subgroups, and the growth rate of inequality decomposed by sources and subgroups. We demonstrate that the multi-decomposition is not unique. It is mainly dependent on poverty lines defined on the space of income sources. An application to Scandinavian countries shows that poverty lines based on non-correlation between the sources of incomes imply serious risks of underestimation of the contribution levels of the different components of the global poverty growth. The main contribution of our paper is to pay a particular attention to the poverty growth and its source components in order to avoid underestimation of poverty growth.

Sierminska E. & Frick J. R. & Grabka M. (2010), 'Examining the gender wealth gap' , Oxford Economic Papers, 62(4), 669-690.

Abstract:  Economic research on the determinants of gender differences in economic outcomes particularly in income and consumption is well established. Extending these investigations to other outcomes such as wealth up till now has been limited due to lack of individual-level data. Using the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) we find a significant “raw” gender wealth gap of 50,000 euros for married partners. Decomposition analyses reveal that the gap is largely driven by differences in characteristics between men and women (observables), particularly by individual’s own income and labor market experience. This is especially true at the bottom and at the top of the wealth distribution, which we show using semi-parametric decomposition techniques. Differences in the lower half of the distribution are mostly driven by the wealth function, i.e., the way in which women transform their characteristics into wealth.

Van Kerm P. (2009), 'Income mobility profiles' , Economics Letters, 102, 93-95.

Abstract:  An ‘income mobility profile’ is a graphical tool to portray income mobility and identify the association between individual movements and initial status which, despite its importance when assessing the social relevance of mobility, is often discounted by aggregate mobility indices.

Jenkins S. P. & Van Kerm P. (2009), 'The Measurement of Economic Inequality' , in Salverda, Nolan & Smeeding (Eds.), Oxford Handbook on Economic Inequality, Oxford University Press.

Abstract:  This chapter provides an introduction to methods for the measurement of economic inequality. We provide a reference point for the other chapters of the book, and a selfcontained review for applied researchers more generally.

Communication to the general public

Doorley K. & Sierminska E. (2010), 'Identifying Beauty and the Beast in the Labour Market: Returns to Physical Appearance in Luxembourg' , Vivre au Luxembourg no.65, Chroniques de l’enquête PSELL-3/2007, CEPS/INSTEAD, Differdange, Luxembourg.

Van Kerm P. & Fusco A. (2008), 'La progression du niveau de vie entre 2003 et 2006' , Vivre au Luxembourg no.48, Chroniques de l’enquête PSELL-3/2006, CEPS/INSTEAD, Differdange, Luxembourg.