Measuring resource inequalities: The concepts and methodology for an area-based Gini coefficient
Although inequalities in income and expenditure are relatively well researched, comparatively little attention has been paid, to date, to inequalities in resource use. This is clearly a shortcoming when it comes to developing informed policies for sustainable consumption and social justice. This paper describes an indicator of inequality in resource use called the AR-Gini. The AR-Gini is an area-based measure of resource inequality that estimates inequalities between neighbourhoods with regard to the consumption of specific consumer goods. It is also capable of estimating inequalities in the emissions resulting from resource use, such as carbon dioxide emissions from energy use, and solid waste arisings from material resource use. The indicator is designed to be used as a basis for broadening the discussion concerning 'food deserts' to inequalities in other types of resource use. By estimating the AR-Gini for a wide range of goods and services we aim to enhance our understanding of resource inequalities and their drivers, identify which resources have highest inequalities, and to explore trends in inequalities. The paper describes the concepts underlying the construction of the AR-Gini and its methodology. Its use is illustrated by pilot applications (specifically, men's and boys' clothing, carpets, refrigerators/freezers and clothes washer/driers). The results illustrate that different levels of inequality are associated with different commodities. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of some possible policy implications of the AR-Gini.
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