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On analysing the world distribution of income

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  • Anthony B. Atkinson

    ()
    (Nuffield College, Oxford)

  • Andrea Brandolini

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

This paper argues that consideration of world inequality should cause us to re-examine the key concepts underlying the welfare approach to the measurement of income inequality and the inter-relation between the measurement of inequality and the measurement of poverty. There are three reasons why we feel that a re-examination is necessary: (i) the extent of global income differences means that we cannot simply carry over the methods used at a national level; we need a more flexible measure; (ii) we have to reconcile measures of world inequality and world poverty; and (iii) we need to explore more fully the different ways in which measures may be relative or absolute. This leads us to propose a new measure, which (a) combines poverty and inequality, including provision for those who are concerned only with poverty, (b) incorporates different approaches to the measurement of inequality; and (c) allows the cost of inequality to be expressed in different ways. Applied to the world distribution for the period 1820-1992, the new measure provides different perspectives on the evolution of global inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 701.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_701_09

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Keywords: global income inequality; absolute vs. relative inequality; poverty; world citizens;

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Cited by:
  1. Joseph E. Aldy & Alan J. Krupnick & Richard G. Newell & Ian W. H. Parry & William A. Pizer, 2010. "Designing Climate Mitigation Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 903-34, December.
  2. Peragine, Vito & Palmisano, Flaviana & Brunori, Paolo, 2013. "Economic Growth and equality of opportunity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6599, The World Bank.
  3. Flaviana Palmisano & Dirk Van de gaer, 2013. "History dependent growth incidence: A characterisation and an application to the economic crisis in Italy," Working Papers 314, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  4. Helgeson, Jennifer & Dietz, Simon & Atkinson, Giles D. & Hepburn, Cameron & Sælen, Håkon, 2009. "Siblings, not triplets: social preferences for risk, inequality and time in discounting climate change," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 3(26), pages 1-28.
  5. Nino-Zarazua, Miguel & Roope, Laurence & Tarp, Finn, 2014. "Global interpersonal inequality: Trends and measurement," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Glenn Sheriff & Kelly B. Maguire, 2013. "Ranking Distributions of Environmental Outcomes Across Population Groups," NCEE Working Paper Series 201304, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2013.
  7. Nicholas Stern, 2013. "Ethics, equity and the economics of climate change. Paper 2: Economics and Politics," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 84b, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  8. Ravi Kanbur & Matti Tuomala, 2011. "Charitable conservatism, poverty radicalism and inequality aversion," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 417-431, September.
  9. Thomas Goda, 2014. "Global trends in relative and absolute wealth concentrations," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 010897, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
  10. James Foster & Joel Greer & Erik Thorbecke, 2010. "The Foster–Greer–Thorbecke (FGT) poverty measures: 25 years later," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 491-524, December.
  11. Decancq, Koen & Ooghe, Erwin, 2010. "Has the world moved forward? A robust multidimensional evaluation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 266-269, May.
  12. Anthony B. Atkinson & Maria Ana Lugo, 2010. "Growth, poverty and distribution in Tanzania," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36376, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. repec:lsg:lsgwps:wp84 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Dietz, Simon & Hepburn, Cameron, 2013. "Benefit–cost analysis of non-marginal climate and energy projects," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 61-71.
  15. Pedro Conceição & Yanchun Zhang, 2010. "Discounting in the context of climate change economics: the policy implications of uncertainty and global asymmetries," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 12(1), pages 31-57, June.
  16. Facundo Alvaredo & Leonardo Gasparini, 2013. "Recent Trends in Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0151, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  17. Simon Dietz & David Maddison, 2009. "New Frontiers in the Economics of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(3), pages 295-306, July.

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