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The Choice of Inequality Measure in Empirical Research on Distributive Judgements

  • André Decoster
  • Erik Schokkaert

We analyse questionnaire data from a representative sample of the Flemish working population. For 781 respondents we construct their perception of the actual and of the fair income distribution. We check whether the use of different inequality measures leads to different interpretations of these data. The ranking of individuals on the basis of their perceived and fair inequality is hardly affected and the same is true for the explanation of the interindividual variation. However, the simple classification of individual respondents in those who want and those who do not want less inequality does depend on the measure used in 20% of the cases. Moreover, the tendency to equalise is a poor measure of conservatism.

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Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën in its series Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers with number ces0014.

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Date of creation: Mar 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces0014
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  1. Harrison, Elizabeth & Seidl, Christian, 1994. " Perceptional Inequality and Preferential Judgements: An Empirical Examination of Distributional Axioms," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 61-81, April.
  2. van Wijck, Peter, 1994. "Evaluating income distributions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 173-190, March.
  3. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  4. Schokkaert, Erik & Capeau, Bart, 1991. "Interindividual Differences in Opinions about Distributive Justice," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 325-45.
  5. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  6. Overlaet, Bert & Lagrou, Leo, 1981. "Attitude towards a redistribution of income," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 197-215, September.
  7. Schokkaert, Erik & Lagrou, Leo, 1983. "An empirical approach to distributive justice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 33-52, June.
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