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Inequality among World Citizens : 1820-1992

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  • François Bourguignon
  • Christian Morrisson

Abstract

This paper investigates the distribution of well being among world citizens during the last two centuries. The estimates show that inequality of world distribution of income worsened from the beginning of the 19th century to World War II and after that seems to have stabilized or to have grown much more slowly. In the early 19th century most inequality was due to differences within countries; later, it was due to differences between countries. Inequality in longevity, also increased during the 19th century, but then was reversed in the second half the 20th century, perhaps mitigating the failure of income inequality to improve in the last decades.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) in its series DELTA Working Papers with number 2001-18.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Publication status: Published in American Economic Review, September 2002, vol. 92, no. 4, pp. 727-744
Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2001-18

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  1. Summers, Robert & Kravis, Irving B. & Heston, Alan, 1984. "Changes in the world income distribution," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 237-269, May.
  2. Charles I. Jones, 1997. "On the Evolution of the World Income Distribution," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 19-36, Summer.
  3. Bourguignon, Francois, 1979. "Decomposable Income Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 901-20, July.
  4. Schultz, T.P., 1998. "Inequality in the Distribution of Personal Income in the World: How It Is Changing and Why," Papers 784, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  5. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-25, April.
  6. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
  7. Yotopoulos, Pan A, 1989. "Distributions of Real Income: Within Countries and by World Income Classes," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 35(4), pages 357-76, December.
  8. Morrisson, Christian, 2000. "Historical perspectives on income distribution: The case of Europe," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 217-260 Elsevier.
  9. Grosh, Margaret E & Nafziger, E Wayne, 1986. "The Computation of World Income Distribution," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 347-59, January.
  10. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  11. Whalley, John, 1979. "The Worldwide Income Distribution: Some Speculative Calculations," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 25(3), pages 261-76, September.
  12. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-61, December.
  13. Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Divergence, big time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1522, The World Bank.
  14. Mookherjee, Dilip & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1982. "A Decomposition Analysis of the Trend in UK Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 886-902, December.
  15. T. Paul Schultz, 1998. "Inequality in the Distribution of Personal Income in the World: How it is Changing and Why," Working Papers 784, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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Blog mentions

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  1. A Rawlsian look at long-term development: another perspective on the Africa puzzle
    by Ronan Lyons in Ronan Lyons on 2009-07-09 07:30:49
  2. La inequidad condenable: ´Dime donde naces…´
    by juanhmex in Pasado y Presente de la Economia Mundial on 2013-02-19 11:55:19
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