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Social Polarization: Introducing Distances Between and Within Groups


  • Iñaki Permanyer


The measurement of social polarization has received little attention from the literature. The only social polarization index that has been used to measure religious or ethnic polarization (the RQ index) has several shortcomings that are critically discussed in the paper. In particular, that index is not taking into account the existing distance between and within different groups. A couple of axiomatically characterized social polarization indices that overcome these limitations are presented. In the empirical section we show that the rankings of countries according to the levels of polarization change to a great extent when we replace the RQ index by the indices presented in this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Iñaki Permanyer, "undated". "Social Polarization: Introducing Distances Between and Within Groups," Working Papers 354, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:354

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joan Esteban & Carlos Gradin & Debraj Ray, 1999. "Extensions of a Measure of Polarization with an Application to the Income Distribution of Five OECD Countries," LIS Working papers 218, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    2. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
    3. Chakravarty, Satya R & Majumder, Amita, 2001. "Inequality, Polarisation and Welfare: Theory and Applications," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, March.
    4. X. Zhang & R. Kanbur, 2001. "What Difference Do Polarisation Measures Make? An Application to China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 85-98.
    5. Juan G. Rodríguez & Rafael Salas, "undated". "Extended Bi-Polarization And Inequality Measures," Working Papers 10-03 Classification-JEL , Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.
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