There is too much to write about for the whole special issue, so I will concentrate on the introduction by Dirk Krueger, Fabrizio Perri, Luigi Pistaferri and Giovanni Violante. They highlight that:
- Wage disparity is lower where the labor market faces more institutional constraints.
- The college premium is high everywhere.
- Income inequality has increased.
- Earnings inequality is larger than wage inequality.
- Asset income and private transfers have no impact on inequality.
- Government transfers affect inequality at the bottom, taxes at the top of the distribution.
- Inequality in disposable income is larger than inequality in consumption.
- Long-run changes in the inequality of discposable income are also larger than for consumption.
- In recessions, inequality of earnings is more pronounced at the bottom of the distribution.
- The same holds true for consumption.
- Recessions have no impact on wealth inequality (we have to wait and see for the last one, though).
- Inequality over the life cycle varies considerably across countries.
I found of particular interest the effort to reconcile micro-level consumption data with the national accounts. It is well known that there are discrepancies in the US and the UK for the growth of consumption, but apparently not elsewhere.