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The Construction and Interpretation of Combined Cross-Section and Time-Series Inequality Datasets

  • Francois, Joseph
  • Rojas-Romagosa, Hugo

The inequality dataset compiled in the 1990s by the World Bank and extended by the UN has been both widely used and strongly criticized. The criticisms raise questions about conclusions drawn from secondary inequality datasets in general. We develop techniques to deal with national and international comparability problems intrinsic to such datasets. The result is a new dataset of consistent inequality series, allowing us to explore problems of measurement error. In addition, the new data allow us to perform parametric non linear estimation of Lorenz curves from grouped data. This in turn allows us to estimate the entire income distribution, computing alternative inequality indexes and poverty estimates. Finally, we have used our broadly comparable dataset to examine international patterns of inequality and poverty.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5214.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5214
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  1. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The world distribution of income (estimated from individual country distributions)," Economics Working Papers 615, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2002.
  2. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Thai-Thanh Dang & Douglas Fore & Michael F. Förster & Marco Mira d'Ercole & Howard Oxley, 1998. "Income Distribution and Poverty in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
  3. Sarabia, J. -M. & Castillo, Enrique & Slottje, Daniel J., 1999. "An ordered family of Lorenz curves," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 43-60, July.
  4. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  5. Kakwani, Nanak C & Podder, N, 1976. "Efficient Estimation of the Lorenz Curve and Associated Inequality Measures from Grouped Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 137-48, January.
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  7. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & van de Walle, Dominique, 1991. "Quantifying Absolute Poverty in the Developing World," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 345-61, December.
  8. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-82, May.
  9. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
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  12. Ortega, P, et al, 1991. "A New Functional Form for Estimating Lorenz Curves," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 447-52, December.
  13. Kakwani, Nanak, 1980. "On a Class of Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(2), pages 437-46, March.
  14. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The Disturbing "Rise" of Global Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), 2000. "Handbook of Income Distribution," Handbook of Income Distribution, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1, 00.
  16. Rasche, R H, et al, 1980. "Functional Forms for Estimating the Lorenz Curve: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1061-62, May.
  17. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
  18. Datt, Gaurav, 1998. "Computational tools for poverty measurement and analysis," FCND discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  19. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, inequality, and poverty : looking beyond averages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2558, The World Bank.
  20. Kakwani, N C & Podder, N, 1973. "On the Estimation of Lorenz Curves from Grouped Observations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 278-92, June.
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  22. Atkinson, A.B. & Brandolini, A., 2000. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of 'Secondary' Data -Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries," Papers 379, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
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