Research and Analysis by Kelvin R. Utendorf

Analysis of Social Security Proposals Intended to Help Women: Preliminary Results
ORES Working Paper No. 88 (released January 2001)
by Sharmila Choudhury, Michael V. Leonesio, Kelvin R. Utendorf, Linda Del Bene, and Robert V. Gesumaria

One aspect of the current debate about changing the Social Security program concerns how new rules might affect elderly women, many of whom have low income. This paper examines three possible changes: (1) a reduction in spousal benefits combined with a change in the computation of the survivor benefit, (2) a redefined minimum benefit, and (3) a 5 percent increase in benefits for persons aged 80 or older. The paper assesses the cost, distributional consequences, and antipoverty impact of each option.

Recent Changes in Earnings Distributions in the U.S.: Age and Cohort Effects
ORES Working Paper No. 82 (released April 1999)
by Kelvin R. Utendorf

In this paper, the author uses large Social Security administrative data sets to examine changes in earnings distributions in the United States over the 1980s through the mid-1990s. Because the earnings information contained in these data sets comes directly from the W-2 forms filed by employers, the self-reporting errors and top-coding problems common in other data used for this type of analysis are minimized. Previous research has documented an increase in overall earnings inequality during the 1970s and the 1980s. The author finds that this upward trend in overall earnings inequality continues in the mid-1990s, despite a period of nearly constant or slightly decreased earnings inequality from 1988 through 1992. The data also suggest that between-group earnings inequality, whether dividing the sample into groups by age group or by birth cohort, is increasing. Despite the increase in between-group earnings inequality over the period examined, however, within-group earnings inequality remains by far the largest contributor to overall earnings inequality.

Recent Changes in Earnings Distributions in the United States
ORES Working Paper No. 76 (released July 1998)
by Kelvin R. Utendorf

In this paper I use large, Social Security administrative data sets to examine changes in earnings distributions in the U.S. over the 1980s and early-1990s. Because the earnings information contained in these data sets comes directly from the W-2 forms filed by employers, the self-reporting errors and top-coding problems common in other data used for this type of analysis are minimized. Previous research has documented an increase in overall earnings inequality during the 1970s and the 1980s. While I too find that overall earnings inequality generally increased during the early- to mid-1980s, I find that this upward trend in earnings inequality might have slowed, or reversed, during the late-1980s and early 1990s. I also find that within-group inequality for various race and gender subgroups of the population generally increased over the period examined, confirming the results of others and extending those findings into the early 1900s. Finally, I find that women's earnings increased relative to men's earnings over the entire period and that the earnings of black males declined relative to the earnings of the other groups examined.

Recent Changes in Earnings Distributions in the United States
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 61 No. 2 (released April 1998)
by Kelvin R. Utendorf

In this article, the author uses large, Social Security administrative data sets to examine changes in earnings distributions in the United States over the 1980s and early 1990s. Because the earnings information contained in these data sets comes directly from the W-2 forms filed by employers, self-reporting errors and top-coding problems, common in other data used for this type of analysis, are minimized. Previous research has documented an increase in overall earnings inequality during the 1970s and the 1980s. While the author also observes that overall earnings inequality generally increased during the early to mid-1980s, his analysis finds that this upward trend in earnings inequality might have slowed, or reversed, during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The data suggest that within-group inequality for various race and/or gender subgroups of the population generally increased over the period examined, confirming the results of others and extending those findings into the early 1990s. Finally, the author finds that female earnings increased relative to male earnings over the entire period, while the earnings of Black males declined relative to the earnings of the other groups examined.

Recent Changes in Earnings Distributions in the United States: Age and Cohort Effects
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 62 No. 2 (released September 1999)
by Kelvin R. Utendorf

In this article, the author uses large, Social Security administrative data sets to examine changes in earnings distributions in the United States over the 1980s through the mid-1990s. Because the earnings information contained in these data sets comes directly from the W-2 forms filed by employers, self-reporting errors and top-coding problems, common in other data used for this type of analysis, are minimized. Previous research has documented an increase in overall earnings inequality during the 1970s and the 1980s. The author finds that this upward trend in overall earnings inequality continues into the mid-1990s, despite a period of nearly constant or slightly decreasing earnings inequality from 1988 through 1992. The data also suggest that between-group earnings inequality, whether dividing the sample into groups by age group or by birth cohort, is increasing. Despite the increase in between-group earnings inequality over the period examined, however, within-group earnings inequality remains by far the largest contributor to overall earnings inequality.

The Upper Part of the Earnings Distribution in the United States: How Has It Changed?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 64 No. 3 (released January 2003)
by Kelvin R. Utendorf

This article examines the upper part of the earnings distribution for the period 1982–1995 using Social Security Administration data. The study shows that the earnings share of persons in the top 0.1 percent of the earnings distribution grew much faster over that period than did the share of those in any other part of the distribution.