QED Working Paper Number

This paper applies the tool box measures of disaggregative income inequality characterization and the statistical methodology of Beach (2021) to percentile-based distribution statistics such as quintile income shares and decile means typically published by official statistical agencies. It derives standard error formulas for those measures which are distribution-free and easy to implement. The approach is illustrated with Canadian Labour Force Survey data over 1997-2015. It is found that widely shared real earnings gains were experienced over this period, but that the gains were very unevenly shared with middle-class workers losing out relatively and top earners having highly statistically significant earnings gains.

JEL Codes
income inequality
inequality inference
statistical inference
Working Paper