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Keywords:

  • lifetime income;
  • inequality;
  • younger generation

Abstract

This study aims to measure the inequality of anticipated lifetime income and the inequality of annual income among the younger generation (24–29-year-old men), and to examine any trends that can be found in terms of inequality between 1955 and 2005 in Japan. Anticipated lifetime income is defined in this study as the present value of the total anticipated annual income that one is likely to earn each year between the ages of 24 and 59 years, assuming that there is no intragenerational class mobility. The anticipated lifetime income for each young male is estimated using the Social Stratification and Social Mobility Survey dataset, which is a Japanese national cross-sectional survey of social stratification and social mobility. An inequality in the anticipated lifetime income can be regarded as an “inequality of outlook” among the younger generation. As a result of this analysis, it was found that the Gini coefficient, the most general measurement of income inequality, had significantly increased for anticipated lifetime income between 1995 and 2005. At the same time, the gap between the Gini coefficient of anticipated lifetime income and that of annual income had narrowed. It is suggested that “inequality of outlook,” which cannot be easily identified using a superficial index, has increased significantly.