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HomeEconomyRepost: "Distribution Data from National Income and Product Accounts"

Repost: “Distribution Data from National Income and Product Accounts”


reader JohnH surprised by BEA reported decentralized NIPA datadespite the comments Blog posts on this topic Two and a half years ago (he commented three Second-rate! )

In a recent development not mentioned, the BEA actually provides data on income distribution, which should be of interest to students of macro.

Since some people don't remember what they read and commented on, I'm reposting it and providing a link to the updated information.

Using an incredibly powerful device called “Google,” I discovered a new prototype data release on the actual distribution of personal income. Here are some numbers describing cumulative income, contribution to income growth, and the Gini coefficient for selected household income percentiles.These numbers come from this work documents Titled “Measuring inequality in the national accounts” (updated 2020).

source: Fixler, Gindelsky, Johnson, “Measuring Inequality in National Accounts” (BEA, December 2020).

source: Fixler, Gindelsky, Johnson, “Measuring Inequality in National Accounts” (BEA, December 2020).

source: Fixler, Gindelsky, Johnson, “Measuring Inequality in National Accounts” (BEA, December 2020).

Although some similar income statistics are available in the census, these variables are constructed in a way that relates to national income and national income (NIPA) and are therefore useful for business cycle analysis. One might criticize the relatively low frequency of these data (once per year). However, my guess is that reporting these series at a higher frequency (e.g., quarterly) would require so much interpolation and estimation that they would not be particularly useful.

The entire page on this topic is here.Technical details discussed here.

Update, January 24, 2024:

Since I wrote this article 2.5 years ago, BEA has updated its approach as discussed below here.

Currently, a time series up to 2022 is revenue share.

figure 1: Share of personal income in the lower half of the income distribution (blue), share of personal disposable income (tan). source: Bank of East Asiaand the author’s calculations..



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