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Inequality and Welfare Evaluation of Heterogeneous Income Distributions

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  • Shorrocks, Anthony
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    Abstract

    This paper establishes the principles which should govern the welfare and inequality analysis of heterogeneous income distributions. Two basic criteria?the ?equity preference? condition and the ?compensation principle??are shown to be fundamentally incompatible. The paper favours the latter, thereby vindicating the traditional method of dealing with heterogeneous samples. However, inequality and welfare comparisons will usually be well defined only if equivalent incomes are obtained using constant scale factors; and researchers will need to distinguish clearly between inequality of nominal incomes and inequality of living standards. Furthermore, household observations must always be weighted according to family size.

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    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/rp2004/rp2004-01.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Research Paper RP2004/01.

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    Length: 38 pages
    Date of creation: 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2004-01

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    Keywords: income distribution; inequality; living standards; needs;

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