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About the Accuracy of Gini Index for Measuring the Poverty

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  • Stefanescu, Stefan V.

    ()
    (The Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy)

Abstract

The Gini index is often used to measure the income inequality presented inside a specified group of individuals and sometimes also for evaluating the “poverty” degree of this population. In this article we show that Gini’s index is not always so adequate to measure the poverty level of an analyzed population. More precisely, we’ll get two very different income distributions which finally give the same value for Gini’s index. Having in mind this aspect, we recommend with priority to use the Gini index only together with other similar or complementary poverty indicators to evaluate the poverty level of a given population.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Institute for Economic Forecasting in its journal Romanian Journal for Economic Forecasting.

Volume (Year): (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 255-266

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Handle: RePEc:rjr:romjef:v::y:2011:i:3:p:255-266

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Related research

Keywords: measurement and analysis of poverty; Gini index; Lorenz curve; income distribution; inequality index;

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References

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  1. Maria Ana Lugo, 2005. "Comparing Multidimensional Indices of Inequality: methods and application," Working Papers 14, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  2. Gastwirth, Joseph L, 1971. "A General Definition of the Lorenz Curve," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(6), pages 1037-39, November.
  3. Chakravarty, Satya R., 1983. "A new index of poverty," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 307-313, December.
  4. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1980. "A single-parameter generalization of the Gini indices of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-86, February.
  5. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1983. "On an Extension of the Gini Inequality Index," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 617-28, October.
  6. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  7. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Lugo, Maria, 2006. "The Information Basis of Multivariate Poverty Assessments," Departmental Working Papers 0603, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  8. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  9. P. Zhou & B. Ang & D. Zhou, 2010. "Weighting and Aggregation in Composite Indicator Construction: a Multiplicative Optimization Approach," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 96(1), pages 169-181, March.
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