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World income inequality databases: an assessment of WIID and SWIID

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  • Stephen Jenkins

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Abstract

This article assesses two secondary data compilations about income inequality – the World Income Inequality Database (WIIDv2c), and the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIIDv4.0) which is based on WIID but with all observations multiply-imputed. WIID and SWIID are convenient and accessible sources for researchers seeking cross-national data with global coverage for relatively long time periods. Against these undoubted benefits must be set costs arising from lack of data comparability and quality and also, in the case of SWIID, questions about its imputation model. WIID and SWIID users need to recognize this benefit-cost trade-off and ensure their substantive conclusions are robust to potential data problems. I provide detailed description of the nature and contents of both sources plus illustrative regression analysis. From a data issues perspective, I recommend WIID over SWIID, though my support for use of WIID is conditional. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Jenkins, 2015. "World income inequality databases: an assessment of WIID and SWIID," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(4), pages 629-671, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:13:y:2015:i:4:p:629-671
    DOI: 10.1007/s10888-015-9305-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2011. "Estimating trends in US income inequality using the Current Population Survey: the importance of controlling for censoring," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 9(3), pages 393-415, September.
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    7. Gruen, Carola & Klasen, Stephan, 2012. "Has transition improved well-being?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 11-30.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Global inequality; Inequality; Gini; Imputation; WIID; SWIID;

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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