A Comparison of income and Wealth Mobility in the United States

  • Nancy Ammon Jianakoplo


This paper presents a systematic comparison of income and wealth mobility based on the same sample of households in the United States. Greater mobility is found within the distribution of income than within the distribution of wealth. While some mobility appears to be transitory, in that gains or loses attained over one time interval are reversed over subsequent intervals, neither income nor wealth mobility is completely reversed. Over the 1966-81 period examined, it appears that mobility within the income distribution was increasing while mobility within the wealth distribution was decreasing. Although income mobility is positively correlated with wealth mobility, this correlation is not very strong.