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Standardizing the World Income Inequality Database

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  • Frederick Solt

Abstract

Objective. Cross‐national research on the causes and consequences of income inequality has been hindered by the limitations of existing inequality data sets: greater coverage across countries and over time is available from these sources only at the cost of significantly reduced comparability across observations. The goal of the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID) is to overcome these limitations. Methods. A custom missing‐data algorithm was used to standardize the U.N. University's World Income Inequality Database; data collected by the Luxembourg Income Study served as the standard. Results. The SWIID provides comparable Gini indices of gross and net income inequality for 153 countries for as many years as possible from 1960 to the present, along with estimates of uncertainty in these statistics. Conclusions. By maximizing comparability for the largest possible sample of countries and years, the SWIID is better suited to broad cross‐national research on income inequality than previously available sources.

Suggested Citation

  • Frederick Solt, 2009. "Standardizing the World Income Inequality Database," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(2), pages 231-242, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:socsci:v:90:y:2009:i:2:p:231-242
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2009.00614.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2009.00614.x
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    1. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    2. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    3. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    4. Petrova, Maria, 2008. "Inequality and media capture," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 183-212, February.
    5. Andreas Bergh & Günther Fink, 2008. "Higher Education Policy, Enrollment, and Income Inequality," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(1), pages 217-235, March.
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