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On the assessment and use of cross-national income inequality datasets

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  • Frederick Solt

Abstract

Researchers should ensure the data they employ are fit for their purpose, and they should maximize the quality of the data they choose. In this paper, I review how this advice applies to broadly cross-national research on income inequality. I demonstrate that the guidance offered in Jenkins (J. Econ. Inequal., 2015 ) to those pursuing cross-national research runs completely counter to the recommendations found in Atkinson and Brandolini (J. Econ. Lit. 39(3), 771–799, 2001 , 2009 ), the source of the aforementioned advice and the works upon which Jenkins (J. Econ. Inequal., 2015 ) claims its own is based. I then show how the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID) incorporates Atkinson and Brandolini’s recommendations to provide the most comparable data available for those engaged in broadly cross-national research on income inequality. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Frederick Solt, 2015. "On the assessment and use of cross-national income inequality datasets," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(4), pages 683-691, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:13:y:2015:i:4:p:683-691
    DOI: 10.1007/s10888-015-9308-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Herndon & Michael Ash & Robert Pollin, 2014. "Does high public debt consistently stifle economic growth? A critique of Reinhart and Rogoff," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 257-279.
    2. 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.
    3. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    4. A. B. Atkinson & A. Brandolini, 2009. "On data: a case study of the evolution of income inequality across time and across countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 381-404, May.
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 573-578, May.
    6. Frederick Solt, 2009. "Standardizing the World Income Inequality Database," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(2), pages 231-242, June.
    7. Frederick Solt, 2015. "Economic Inequality and Nonviolent Protest," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1314-1327, November.
    8. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
    9. Frederick Solt, 2009. "Standardizing the World Income Inequality Database," LIS Working papers 496, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
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