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Divergent Inequalities: Theory and Empirical Results

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  • Wolfson, Michael C

Abstract

Widely used summary measures of inequality or the idea of the 'disappearing middle class' are potentially misleading. Divergences between evidence cited and conclusions drawn include failing to distinguish between the concepts of inequality and polarization, and using scalar 'inequality' measures which are not consistent with rankings based on Lorenz curves. In addition, inappropriate claims about trends in inequality can arise from focusing on only a subpopulation, such as full-time male workers, and failing to account for sampling variability. These divergences are illustrated using Canadian data on labor incomes over the 1967 to 1994 period. Copyright 1997 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 401-421, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:43:y:1997:i:4:p:401-21
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