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Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992

Author

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  • François Bourguignon
  • Christian Morrisson

Abstract

This paper investigates the distribution of well being among world citizens during the last two centuries. The estimates show that inequality of world distribution of income worsened from the beginning of the 19th century to World War II and after that seems to have stabilized or to have grown more slowly. In the early 19th century most inequality was due to differences within countries; later, it was due to differences between countries. Inequality in longevity, also increased during the 19th century, but then was reversed in the second half of the 20th century, perhaps mitigating the failure of income inequality to improve in the last decades. (JEL D31, F0, N0, O0)

Suggested Citation

  • François Bourguignon & Christian Morrisson, 2002. "Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 727-744, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:4:p:727-744
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/00028280260344443
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-625, April.
    2. T. Paul Schultz, 1998. "Inequality in the distribution of personal income in the world: How it is changing and why," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(3), pages 307-344.
    3. Bourguignon, Francois, 1979. "Decomposable Income Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 901-920, July.
    4. Summers, Robert & Kravis, Irving B. & Heston, Alan, 1984. "Changes in the world income distribution," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 237-269, May.
    5. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
    6. Charles I. Jones, 1997. "On the Evolution of the World Income Distribution," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 19-36, Summer.
    7. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
    8. A. B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201.
    9. Yotopoulos, Pan A, 1989. "Distributions of Real Income: Within Countries and by World Income Classes," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 35(4), pages 357-376, December.
    10. Mookherjee, Dilip & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1982. "A Decomposition Analysis of the Trend in UK Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 886-902, December.
    11. 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 345-361, December.
    12. Morrisson, Christian, 2000. "Historical perspectives on income distribution: The case of Europe," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 217-260 Elsevier.
    13. Whalley, John, 1979. "The Worldwide Income Distribution: Some Speculative Calculations," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 25(3), pages 261-276, September.
    14. Grosh, Margaret E & Nafziger, E Wayne, 1986. "The Computation of World Income Distribution," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 347-359, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • F0 - International Economics - - General
    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • O0 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General

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