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The construction and interpretation of combined cross-section and time-series inequality datasets

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  • Francois, Joseph F.
  • Rojas-Romagosa, Hugo

Abstract

The inequality dataset compiled in the 1990s by the World Bank and extended by the United Nations has been both widely used and strongly criticized. The criticisms raise questions about conclusions drawn from secondary inequality datasets in general. The authors develop techniques to deal with national and international comparability problems intrinsic to such datasets. The result is a new dataset of consistent inequality series, allowing them to explore problems of measurement error. In addition, the new data allow the authors to perform parametric non-linear estimation of Lorenz curves from grouped data. This in turn allows them to estimate the entire income distribution, computing alternative inequality indexes and poverty estimates. Finally, the authors use their broadly comparable dataset to examine international patterns of inequality and poverty.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3748.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3748

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Keywords: Inequality; Poverty Impact Evaluation; Services&Transfers to Poor; Economic Theory&Research; Poverty Monitoring&Analysis;

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  1. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  2. Sarabia, J. -M. & Castillo, Enrique & Slottje, Daniel J., 1999. "An ordered family of Lorenz curves," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 43-60, July.
  3. Atkinson, A B, 1997. "Bringing Income Distribution in from the Cold," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 297-321, March.
  4. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 73, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  5. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
  6. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2001. "The disturbing 'rise' of global income inequality," Economics Working Papers 616, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2002.
  7. Kakwani, N C & Podder, N, 1973. "On the Estimation of Lorenz Curves from Grouped Observations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 278-92, June.
  8. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The world distribution of income (estimated from individual country distributions)," Economics Working Papers 615, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2002.
  9. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  10. Datt, Gaurav, 1998. "Computational tools for poverty measurement and analysis," FCND discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  11. Atkinson, A.B. & Brandolini, A., 2000. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of 'Secondary' Data -Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries," Papers 379, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  12. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Kakwani, Nanak, 1980. "On a Class of Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 437-46, March.
  16. Villasenor, JoseA. & Arnold, Barry C., 1989. "Elliptical Lorenz curves," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 327-338, February.
  17. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  18. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Thai-Thanh Dang & Douglas Fore & Michael F. Förster & Marco Mira d'Ercole & Howard Oxley, 1998. "Income Distribution and Poverty in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
  19. Rasche, R H, et al, 1980. "Functional Forms for Estimating the Lorenz Curve: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1061-62, May.
  20. Kakwani, Nanak C & Podder, N, 1976. "Efficient Estimation of the Lorenz Curve and Associated Inequality Measures from Grouped Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 137-48, January.
  21. Ortega, P, et al, 1991. "A New Functional Form for Estimating Lorenz Curves," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 447-52, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hugo Rojas-Romagosa & J.F. Francois, 2008. "Reassessing the relationship between inequality and development," CPB Discussion Paper 107, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  2. Axel Dreher & Noel Gaston, 2006. "Has globalization increased inequality?," KOF Working papers 06-140, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  3. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2006. "Growth, Inequality, and Poverty in Spain, 1850-2000: Evidence and Speculation," Working Papers in Economic History wp06-04, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  4. Carmen Fillat & Joseph Francois, 2004. "National and international income dispersion and aggregate expenditures," Documentos de Trabajo dt2004-06, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza.
  5. Bas van Leeuwen & Peter Foldvari, 2012. "The development of inequality and poverty in Indonesia, 1932-1999," Working Papers 0026, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  6. Rabindra Bhandari & Gyan Pradhan & Mukti Upadhyay, 2010. "Another empirical look at the Kuznets curve," International Journal of Economic Sciences and Applied Research (IJESAR), Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Kavala, Greece, vol. 3(2), pages 7-19, December.
  7. Thomas Goda, 2013. "Changes in income inequality from a global perspective: an overview," Working Papers PKWP1303, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
  8. Jan Luiten van Zanden & Joerg Baten & Peter Foldvari & Bas van Leeuwen, 2011. "The Changing Shape of Global Inequality - exploring a new dataset," Working Papers 0001, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  9. Martin Gassebner & Noel Gaston & Michael Lamla, 2006. "Relief for the Environment? The Importance of an Increasingly Unimportant Industrial Sector," KOF Working papers 06-130, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  10. Jean-Marie Viaene & Itzhak Zilcha, 2009. "Human Capital and Inequality Dynamics: The Role of Education Technology," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(304), pages 760-778, October.

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