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Poles Apart? An Analysis Of The Meaning Of Polarization

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  • Yoram Amiel
  • Frank Cowell
  • Xavier Ramos

Abstract

Starting from the axiomatization of polarization contained in Esteban and Ray (1994 ) and Chakravarty and Majumder (2001 ), we investigate whether people's perceptions of income polarization are consistent with the key axioms. This is carried out using a questionnaire-experimental approach that combines both paper questionnaires and on-line interactive techniques. The responses suggest that important axioms which serve to differentiate polarization from inequality-e.g. increased bipolarization-as well as other distinctive features of polarization, i.e. the non-monotonous behavior attributed to polarization, are not widely accepted. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Yoram Amiel & Frank Cowell & Xavier Ramos, 2010. "Poles Apart? An Analysis Of The Meaning Of Polarization," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(1), pages 23-46, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:56:y:2010:i:1:p:23-46
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bossert, Walter & Pfingsten, Andreas, 1990. "Intermediate inequality: concepts, indices, and welfare implications," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 117-134, April.
    2. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    3. Wolfson, Michael, 1997. "Divergent Inequalities - Theory and Empirical Results (Revised Edition)," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1997066e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    4. Chakravarty, Satya R & Majumder, Amita, 2001. "Inequality, Polarisation and Welfare: Theory and Applications," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, March.
    5. Joan Esteban & Carlos Gradín & Debraj Ray, 2007. "An Extension of a Measure of Polarization, with an application to the income distribution of five OECD countries," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, April.
    6. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-363.
    7. Amiel, Yoram & Cowell, Frank A., 1992. "Measurement of income inequality : Experimental test by questionnaire," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 3-26, February.
    8. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chiara Gigliarano & Pietro Muliere, 2012. "Measuring Income Polarization Using an Enlarged Middle Class," Working Papers 271, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

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