Date: Thursday 22 October 2009
Location: Copland Theatre, Economics and Commerce Building
Abstract: Knowledge of how income varies with age
on average, and the extent to which individual trajectories differ from
an average profile, is relevant to many aspects of social policy
making. For example, how your income varies over your life is an
important determinant of your spending possibilities and hence economic
well-being at different ages, and your ability to save for old age,
whether privately or through company, occupational, or state pension
schemes. Even if income increases with age on average, this is
consistent with considerable year-on-year fluctuation in the incomes of
a minority, or a mixture of subgroups with rising income and subgroups
whose income is falling. Such heterogeneity complicates the design of
effective policies for fostering saving by all. The lecture presents
new evidence about the shape of people’s income-age trajectories.
Stephen will show that, collectively, trajectories look like cooked
spaghetti – they are a complex mix of wiggly lines. But the spaghetti
can be unravelled. He will summarise the key features of income-age
trajectories – both the average trajectory for groups of individuals
with similar characteristics and the differences from the average
within groups (which are substantial).
is a professor of economics in the Institute for Social and Economic
Research, University of Essex, UK. He has just completed a term of
office as ISER Director, and is visiting the Melbourne Institute in
October for two months. Stephen has wide-ranging substantive research
interests in income distribution and labour market topics, and
methodological research interests in microeconometric methods for
longitudinal data. He is a member of the UK’s National Equality Panel.
He was President of the European Society for Population Economics in
1998, and Chair of the Council of the International Association for
Research on Income and Wealth, 2006–8.