AbstractIn this essay, we discuss the importance of consumption inequality in the debate concerning the measurement of disparities in economic well-being. We summarize the advantages and disadvantages of using consumption as opposed to income for measuring trends in economic well-being. We critically evaluate the available evidence on these trends, and in particular discuss how the literature has evolved in its assessment of whether consumption inequality has grown as much as or less than income inequality. We provide some novel evidence on three relatively unexplored themes: inequality in different spending components, inequality in leisure time, and intergenerational consumption mobility.
CitationAttanasio, Orazio P., and Luigi Pistaferri. 2016. "Consumption Inequality." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 30 (2): 3-28. DOI: 10.1257/jep.30.2.3
- D12 Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- D31 Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
- D63 Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- E21 Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
- I31 General Welfare; Well-Being
- J62 Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion