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A Unified Framework to Measuring Inequality in The Arab Countries

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  • Sami Bibi

    (Department of Economics, University of Laval, Quebec, Canada)

  • AbdelRahmen El-Lahga

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to apply a general and unified approach to inequality measurement in Arab countries. To this end, a wide class of inequality indices, proposed by Olmedo et al. (2009) and based on the Bonferroni (1930) curve, rather than the Lorenz curve, is used. When local measures of inequality are aggregated using an appropriate weighting system, familiar indices such as the Gini index can be retrieved. The choice of the weighting system yields a variety of inequality measures that depend on which part of the income distribution the overall inequality index is focused. Our framework offers a reassessment of inequality trends in the Arab world. Our results show that whatever the trend of inequality experienced by the selected Arab countries, the poorest people do not seem to be much affected by the changes in the inequality patterns. For instance, when some countries undergo a rise in overall inequality, changes in the inequality experienced by the poorest population are less pronounced. Inversely, when inequality decreases, the richest percentiles seem to become locally more equal than poorer ones. These findings imply that change in the average income of the poorest is generally very low.

Suggested Citation

  • Sami Bibi & AbdelRahmen El-Lahga, 2010. "A Unified Framework to Measuring Inequality in The Arab Countries," Working Papers 567, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 Jan 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:567
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1980. "A single-parameter generalization of the Gini indices of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-86, February.
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    4. Bibi, Sami & Duclos, Jean-Yves, 2007. "Equity and policy effectiveness with imperfect targeting," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 109-140, May.
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    6. Sami Bibi & AbdelRahmen El Lahga, 2010. "Generating Reliable Data to Perform Distributional Analysis in the Arab Region," Working Papers 561, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 Jan 2010.
    7. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. I," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 416-442, June.
    8. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-324.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sami Bibi & Abdelrahmen El Lahga, 2011. "Decomposing Monetary Inequality In The Arab Region," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(01), pages 99-117.
    2. Sami Bibi & AbdelRahmen El-Lahga, 2010. "Decomposing Income Inequality in The Arab Region," Working Papers 557, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 Jan 2010.
    3. Sami Bibi & AbdelRahmen El-Lahga, 2011. "A Unified Framework to Decomposing Inequality with Illustrations to Some Arab Countries," Working Papers 618, Economic Research Forum, revised 08 Jan 2011.

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