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Why Measure Inequality?

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  • Louis Kaplow

Abstract

A large body of literature is devoted to the measurement of income inequality, yet little attention is given to the question, Why measure inequality? However, the reasons for measurement bear importantly on whether and how measurement should be done. Upon examination, normative measures are found to be of questionable value. Descriptive measures, by contrast, may be useful, but the appropriate measure depends on the field of application rather than on general, a priori principles of the sort that are emphasized in the existing measurement literature. Measures of poverty are also considered, and similar conclusions are reached.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9342.

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Date of creation: Nov 2002
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Publication status: published as Louis Kaplow, 2005. "Why measure inequality?," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 65-79, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9342

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Cited by:
  1. Daniel Suryadarma & Rima Prama Artha & Asep Suryahadi & Sudarno Sumarto, 2005. "A Reassessment of Inequality and Its Role in Poverty Reduction in Indonesia," Development Economics Working Papers 22543, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  2. Heshmati, Almas, 2004. "Data Issues and Databases Used in Analysis of Growth, Poverty and Economic Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1263, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Dieter Schmidtchen & Christian Koboldt & Jenny Monheim & Birgit Will & Georg Haas, . "The Internalisation of External Costs in Transport: From the Polluter Pays to the Cheapest Cost Avoider Principle," German Working Papers in Law and Economics, Berkeley Electronic Press 2008-1-1214, Berkeley Electronic Press.
  4. Glenn Sheriff & Kelly B. Maguire, 2013. "Ranking Distributions of Environmental Outcomes Across Population Groups," NCEE Working Paper Series, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 201304, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2013.
  5. Louis Kaplow, 2003. "Public Goods and the Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 9842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Heshmati, Almas, 2004. "The World Distribution of Income and Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1267, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Irina Gerasimova, 2011. "Sources of Income as a Factor of Interregional Social Economic Differentiation of the Russian Population (1995 – 2007 years)," ERSA conference papers ersa10p378, European Regional Science Association.
  8. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Henry G. Overman, 2003. "The spatial distribution of economic activities in the European Union," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 20023, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Budria, Santiago, 2007. "Economic Inequality in Portugal: A Picture in the Beginnings of the 21st century," MPRA Paper 1784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Aristei, David & Perugini, Cristiano, 2010. "Preferences for redistribution and inequality in well-being across Europe," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 176-195, March.
  11. Richard M. bird, 2003. "Taxation in Latin America: Reflections on Sustainability and the Balance between Equity and Efficiency," International Tax Program Papers, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto 0306, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

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