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About the Accuracy of Gini Index for Measuring the Poverty

Author

Listed:
  • Stefanescu, Stefan V.

    (The Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy)

Abstract

The Gini index is often used to measure the income inequality presented inside a specified group of individuals and sometimes also for evaluating the “poverty” degree of this population. In this article we show that Gini’s index is not always so adequate to measure the poverty level of an analyzed population. More precisely, we’ll get two very different income distributions which finally give the same value for Gini’s index. Having in mind this aspect, we recommend with priority to use the Gini index only together with other similar or complementary poverty indicators to evaluate the poverty level of a given population.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefanescu, Stefan V., 2011. "About the Accuracy of Gini Index for Measuring the Poverty," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(3), pages 255-266, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:rjr:romjef:v::y:2011:i:3:p:255-266
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Esfandiar Maasoumi & Maria Ana Lugo, 2008. "The Information Basis of Multivariate Poverty Assessments," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Nanak Kakwani & Jacques Silber (ed.), Quantitative Approaches to Multidimensional Poverty Measurement, chapter 1, pages 1-29, Palgrave Macmillan.
    2. P. Zhou & B. Ang & D. Zhou, 2010. "Weighting and Aggregation in Composite Indicator Construction: a Multiplicative Optimization Approach," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 96(1), pages 169-181, March.
    3. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    4. Satya R. Chakravarty, 2019. "A New Index of Poverty," Themes in Economics, in: Satya R. Chakravarty (ed.), Poverty, Social Exclusion and Stochastic Dominance, pages 31-37, Springer.
    5. Maria Ana Lugo, 2005. "Comparing Multidimensional Indices of Inequality: methods and application," Working Papers 14, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Gastwirth, Joseph L, 1971. "A General Definition of the Lorenz Curve," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(6), pages 1037-1039, November.
    7. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1980. "A single-parameter generalization of the Gini indices of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-86, February.
    8. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1983. "On an Extension of the Gini Inequality Index," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 617-628, October.
    9. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-231, March.
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    Blog mentions

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    1. Horses for Courses
      by Mike Isaacson in Vulgar Economics on 2015-06-14 20:00:00

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    measurement and analysis of poverty; Gini index; Lorenz curve; income distribution; inequality index;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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