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Interactions inequality-polarization: an impossibility result

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Abstract

Recent literature stresses the multidimensional nature of income distribution. Two of the most relevant components are inequality and polarization. In this paper, we prove the impossibility of keeping simultaneously constant these two aspects whenever the distribution of incomes changes. Distributional change could originate from any economic policy or simply from economic growth. Hence, our result implies an effective restriction for policymakers that they cannot avoid and should not ignore. Our proof embodies a general view of polarization that includes the Wolfson and the Esteban and Ray approaches. The paper also develops other links for the case of controlling only one variable and deducing the implications for the other variable.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Prieto Rodríguez & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez & Rafael Salas, 2004. "Interactions inequality-polarization: an impossibility result," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/64, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  • Handle: RePEc:cea:doctra:e2004_64
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Conchita D’Ambrosio & Edward N. Wolff, 2006. "Is Wealth Becoming More Polarized in the United States?," Chapters, in: Edward N. Wolff (ed.), International Perspectives on Household Wealth, chapter 12, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    3. Davies, J. B. & Shorrocks, A. F., 1989. "Optimal grouping of income and wealth data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 97-108, September.
    4. Davies, James B. & Hoy, Michael, 2002. "Flat rate taxes and inequality measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 33-46, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    polarization; inequality; economic policy.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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