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A Class of Two-Group Polarization Measures

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  • Bossert, Walter
  • Schworm, William

Abstract

The phenomenon of income polarization is generally associated with a disappearing middle class but there does not seem to be a generally accepted definition of this notion. We characterize classes of polarization quasi-orderings and polarization measures in a framework where there are two income groups separated by the median. The axioms we employ are variants of within-group clustering and between-group spread properties, and an independence property. Furthermore, we illustrate that attempts to extend the axioms to more general settings severely restrict their appeal and conclude that alternative approaches may be required to capture concepts involving polarization. Copyright � 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 2007-09.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2007-09

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  1. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-63.
  2. Wolfson, Michael C, 1997. "Divergent Inequalities: Theory and Empirical Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(4), pages 401-21, December.
  3. Zhang, Siao-Bo & Kanbur, Ravi, 1999. "What Difference Do Polarization Measures Make? An Application To China," Working Papers 7224, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  4. Chakravarty, Satya R & Majumder, Amita, 2001. "Inequality, Polarisation and Welfare: Theory and Applications," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, March.
  5. Seshanna, Shubhasree & Decornez, Stephane, 2003. "Income polarization and inequality across countries: an empirical study," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 335-358, June.
  6. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  7. Joan Esteban & Carlos Gradín & Debraj Ray, 2007. "An Extension of a Measure of Polarization, with an application to the income distribution of five OECD countries," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, April.
  8. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Cahiers de recherche 0301, CIRPEE.
  9. Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 1996. "What can new survey data tell us about recent changes in distribution and poverty?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1694, The World Bank.
  10. Esteban, J.M. & Ray, D., 1992. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 171.92, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  11. Schultz, Christian, 1996. "Polarization and Inefficient Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 331-44, April.
  12. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  13. D'Ambrosio, Conchita, 2001. "Household Characteristics and the Distribution of Income in Italy: An Application of Social Distance Measures," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(1), pages 43-64, March.
  14. Wolfson, Michael C, 1994. "When Inequalities Diverge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 353-58, May.
  15. Gradin, Carlos, 2000. "Polarization by Sub-populations in Spain, 1973-91," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(4), pages 457-74, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Gaston Yalonetzky, 2013. "Relative bipolarization quasi-ordering based on Between-Group Gini (BGG) curves," Working Papers 318, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  2. Jones, Andrew M. & Rice, Nigel & Robone, Silvana & Dias, Pedro Rosa, 2011. "Inequality and polarisation in health systems' responsiveness: A cross-country analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 616-625, July.
  3. Peter Lambert, 2010. "James Foster and Michael Wolfson’s 1992 paper “Polarization and the decline of the middle class”," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 241-245, June.
  4. Gaston Yalonetzky, 2014. "Relative bipolarization Lorenz curve," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(2), pages 1103-1113.
  5. Rolf Aaberge & A B Atkinson, 2013. "The median as watershed," Discussion Papers 749, Research Department of Statistics Norway.

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