IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

What Difference Do Polarization Measures Make? An Application To China

Listed author(s):
  • Zhang, Siao-Bo
  • Kanbur, Ravi

In recent years there has been much discussion of the difference between Inequality and Polarization. The vast literature on inequality is held to miss out key features of distribution change, which are better described as changes in the polarization. Axioms have been proposed which capture some of these differences, and measures of polarization, as distinct from inequality, have been suggested. The theoretical distinctions proposed in this literature are indeed interesting. But the question remains what difference does it all make in actual application? Do the newly proposed measures of polarization give dramatically different results in comparing societies over time, or with each other? We address these questions for China, where dramatic increase in inequality and polarization have been much discussed in the literature. We find that, contrary to theoretical expectation, empirically the new measures of polarization do not give us very different results from the standard measures of inequality. The paper ends by considering a different way of thinking about polarization which might better conform to the empirical patterns observed, and policy concerns expressed.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management in its series Working Papers with number 7224.

in new window

Date of creation: 1999
Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:7224
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Warren Hall, Ithaca NY 14853

Fax: 607-255-9984
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:7224. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.