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On data: a case study of the evolution of income inequality across time and across countries

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  • A. B. Atkinson
  • A. Brandolini

Abstract

This paper takes income distribution as a case study of the role of data in economics. After describing the transformation which has taken place with regard to the availability of data on income inequality, it discusses how the comparability of these estimates is brought into question by differences in methodology that cannot be eliminated by simple adjustments. Recent analyses of the relationships between income inequality and growth or globalisation are shown to be based on time series plagued by discontinuities which can seriously affect regression results. The paper concludes by calling for greater attention to data quality in applied economics. Copyright The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:33:y:2009:i:3:p:381-404
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bel013
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    Cited by:

    1. Sabrina Auci & Laura Castellucci & Manuela Coromaldi, 2013. "Does cutting back the public sector improve efficiency? Some evidence from 15 European countries," CEIS Research Paper 274, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 30 Apr 2013.
    2. Rolf Aaberge & François Bourguignon & Andrea Brandolini & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Janet C. Gornick & John Hills & Markus Jäntti & Stephen P. Jenkins & Eric Marlier & John Micklewright & Brian Nolan, 2017. "Tony Atkinson and his Legacy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(3), pages 411-444, September.
    3. repec:ces:ifodic:v:14:y:2016:i:4:p:19267790 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Lisa CHAUVET & Marin FERRY & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY & Sampawende J.-A. TAPSOBA & Laurent WAGNER, 2017. "Volatility Widens Inequality. Could Aid and Remittances Help?," Working Papers P158, FERDI.
    5. Bhagowalia, Priya & Chen, Susan E. & Masters, William A., 2011. "Effects and determinants of mild underweight among preschool children across countries and over time," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 66-77, January.
    6. António Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 2010. "Income distribution determinants and public spending efficiency," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(3), pages 367-389, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Lahoti Rahul & Jayadev Arjun & Reddy Sanjay, 2016. "The Global Consumption and Income Project (GCIP): An Overview," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 61-108, June.
    9. Cabral, René & García-Díaz, Rocío & Mollick, André Varella, 2016. "Does globalization affect top income inequality?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 916-940.
    10. Chakrabarti, Anindya S. & Chakrabarti, Bikas K., 2010. "Statistical theories of income and wealth distribution," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 4, pages 1-31.
    11. Rahul Lahoti & Arjun Jayadev & Sanjay G. Reddy, 2016. "The Global Consumption and Income Project (GCIP): An Overview," LIS Working papers 655, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    12. Bofinger, Peter & Scheuermeyer, Philipp, 2016. "Income Distribution and Aggregate Saving: A Non-Monotonic Relationship," CEPR Discussion Papers 11435, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Mark Andrich & Jorg Imberger & Ronald Oxburgh, 2009. "Raising Utility and Lowering Risk through Adaptive Sustainability: Society and the Risk of Wealth Inequity in Western Australia," LIS Working papers 524, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    14. Gründler, Klaus & Köllner, Sebastian, 2017. "Determinants of governmental redistribution: Income distribution, development levels, and the role of perceptions," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 930-962.
    15. 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.
    16. Nathalie Scholl & Stephan Klasen, 2016. "Re-estimating the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 205, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    17. Florian Dorn, 2016. "On Data and Trends in Income Inequality around the World," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 14(4), pages 54-64, December.
    18. Stimpfle, Alexander & Stadelmann, David, 2015. "The Impact of Fundamental Development Factors on Different Income Groups: International Evidence," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113128, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    19. Giuseppina Malerba & Marta Spreafico, 2013. "Income inequality in the European Union: evidence from a panel analysis," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Politica Economica ispe0065, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    20. Scheuermeyer, Philipp & Bofinger, Peter, 2016. "Income Distribution and Household Saving: A Non-Monotonic Relationship," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145901, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    21. Wang, Lijian & Béland, Daniel & Zhang, Sifeng, 2014. "Pension fairness in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 25-36.
    22. Rolf Aaberge & François Bourguignon & Andrea Brandolini & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Janet C. Gornick & John Hills & Markus Jäntti & Stephen P. Jenkins & Eric Marlier & John Micklewright & Brian Nolan, 2017. "Tony Atkinson and his Legacy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 63(3), pages 411-444, September.
    23. Rémi Bazillier & Jérôme Héricourt & Samuel Ligonnière, 2017. "Structure of Income Inequality and Household Leverage: Theory and Cross-Country Evidence," Working Papers 2017-01, CEPII research center.

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