IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Transfer Sensitive Inequality Measures


  • Anthony F. Shorrocks
  • James E. Foster


Transfer sensitivity has been seen as a means of strengthening the Pigou-Dalton "principle of transfers", by ensuring that more weight in the inequality assessment is attached to transfers taking place lower down in the distribution. This paper examines the concept of transfer sensitivity in detail and proposes a new definition that can be usefully applied in general contexts. The definition is based on the notion of "favourable composite transfers" which involve a regressive transfer combined with a simultaneous progressive transfer at a lower income level. The paper proceeds to identify when one distribution can be obtained from another using a sequence of progressive transfers and favourable composite transfers, and hence when all transfer sensitive Pigou-Dalton indices agree on their pairwise inequality ranking. Since agreement occurs in some situations when Pigou-Dalton indices are not unanimous, transfer sensitivity adds power to the "unambiguous" inequality judgements based on the Pigou-Dalton condition and, in particular, enables distributions whose Lorenz curves intersect to be conclusively ranked.

Suggested Citation

  • Anthony F. Shorrocks & James E. Foster, 1987. "Transfer Sensitive Inequality Measures," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 54(3), pages 485-497.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:54:y:1987:i:3:p:485-497.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:54:y:1987:i:3:p:485-497.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.