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On the measurement of plutonomy

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  • Paul Makdissi

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  • Myra Yazbeck

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Abstract

Recently, a lot of attention is given to income variations occurring at the top of the income distribution. “What happens to the top 1 %?” is a question of crucial importance on the political level (Occupy Wall Street Movement) as well as on income inequality measurement level. Despite this increased interest, there is no rigorous measurement framework available in the literature for the measurement of plutonomy or “what happens to the top 1 %”. To fill this gap, this paper proposes a simple framework for the measurement of plutonomy. It exposes the ethical principles underlying plutonomy indices and develops restricted Lorenz dominance conditions that produce robust orderings of plutonomy between income distributions. Finally, the paper offers a brief empirical illustration using the World Top Incomes Database. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Makdissi & Myra Yazbeck, 2015. "On the measurement of plutonomy," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(4), pages 703-717, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:44:y:2015:i:4:p:703-717
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-014-0857-0
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    1. Tommaso Lando & Lucio Bertoli-Barsotti, 2016. "Weak orderings for intersecting Lorenz curves," METRON, Springer;Sapienza Università di Roma, vol. 74(2), pages 177-192, August.

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