AbstractIn many countries extreme poverty is unnecessary. Yet it persists. We propose a simple index, denoted the Miser index, to measure the extent to which societies have poverty in the midst of affluence. It builds on the generalized Lorenz curve, but can also be seen as a measure of polarization between the rich and the poor. We calculate the index for a number of developing and emerging economies and rank them according to their revealed miserliness. We also identify important correlates of the Miser index. Countries that score high on the index tend to be socially fractionalized, bureaucratically inefficient, and politically corrupt. They provide their citizens with a low level of health care and education. Democracy and high growth rates do not moderate miserliness. Finally, considering the world as a single entity, we find a dramatic rise in global miserliness over the last 30 years.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 04/2009.
Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 28 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
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Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
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Miser index; poverty; affluence; inequality; development;
Other versions of this item:
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
- I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
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