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GINI DP 9: Comparable Indicators of Inequality Across Countries


  • Brian Nolan

    () (School of Applied Social Science, University College Dublin)

  • Ive Marx

    () (Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp)

  • Wiemer Salverda

    () (AIAS, Universiteit van Amsterdam)


This paper addresses the key issue for the GINI project of how best to approach the measurement of income inequality and wage inequality to enhance comparability across different studies. It focuses fi rst on income inequality, dealing with the defi nition of income, the income recipient unit, and the unit of analysis. The summary measures used to capture inequality are also discussed, with an emphasis on capturing trends at different points in the distribution, and sources for comparative data on inequality levels and trends are discussed. The paper then turns to inequality in earnings among employees and discusses the same set of issues in that context. The above bears directly on any analysis of inequality itself but it is also important for an analysis of the direct impacts of inequality at micro-level. For a (multilevel) analysis based on aggregate inequality as an input the paper provides an understanding of the need for comparable concepts and defi nitions across countries and links to data sources as well as aggregate levels. It also links to practical experiences of researchers with different datasets. For this and the datasets see the Data Portal at "":

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Nolan & Ive Marx & Wiemer Salverda, 2011. "GINI DP 9: Comparable Indicators of Inequality Across Countries," GINI Discussion Papers 9, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aia:ginidp:9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2007. "What Determines Top Income Shares? Evidence from the Twentieth Century," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 676, Stockholm School of Economics.
    2. Bourguignon, Francois & Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective models of household behavior : An introduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 355-364, April.
    3. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    4. Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
    5. Andrea Brandolini & Alfonso Rosolia & Roberto Torrini, 2011. "The distribution of employees’ labour earnings in the European Union: Data, concepts and first results," Working Papers 198, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Andrew Leigh, 2007. "How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages 619-633, November.
    7. Hans-Jürgen Andreß & Henning Lohmann (ed.), 2008. "The Working Poor in Europe," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13060.
    8. Brian Nolan & Christopher T. Whelan & Bertrand Maître, 2010. "Low Pay, In-Work Poverty and Economic Vulnerability: A Comparative Analysis Using EU-SILC," Working Papers 201028, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9428-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Luca Agnello & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2014. "How Does Fiscal Consolidation Impact on Income Inequality?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(4), pages 702-726, December.

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