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Multidimensional inequality and multidimensional generalized entropy measures: An axiomatic derivation

  • Kai-yuen Tsui

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong)

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    This paper generalizes the axiomatic approach to the design of income inequality measures to the multiattribute context. While the extension of most axioms considered desirable for inequality indices is straightforward, it is not entirely clear when a situation is more unequal than another when each person is characterised by a vector of attributes of well-being. We explore two majorization criteria which are partial orders ranking distributions of attributes by their degree of inequality. The two criteria are motivated by the Pigou-Dalton Transfer Principle in the unidimensional context and its equivalent formulation. These criteria gauge inequality loosely speaking with respect to the dispersion of the multidimensional distribution of the attributes. They, however, fail to address a different dimension of multivariate inequality pertaining to an increase in the correlation of the attributes. In this connection, this paper introduces a correlation-increasing majorization criterion proposed by Boland and Proschan (1988). Finally, in conjunction with other axioms commonly invoked in the literature on inequality, the majorization criteria lead inexorably to the class of multidimensional generalized entropy measures.

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

    Volume (Year): 16 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 145-157

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:16:y:1999:i:1:p:145-157
    Note: Received: 15 June 1995 / Accepted: 30 September 1997
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