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The evolution of global inequality: absolute, relative and intermediate views

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  • Kristof BOSMANS
  • Koen DECANCQ
  • André DECOSTER

Abstract

We compare absolute, relative and intermediate views on the evolution of global inequality between 1980 and 2009. According to the relative view, inequality remains invariant after a uniform proportional change of all incomes whereas the absolute view requires invariance to a uniform change of all incomes with the same amount. We use a generic intermediate view which states that an income distribution is as unequal as another one if it can be obtained as a weighted average of a uniform proportional and a uniform absolute change of the incomes. Using recent data on GDP per capita for 115 countries, we .nd considerable support for the claim that world inequality increased for the absolute view and for intermediate views which move substantially in the direction of the relative view.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristof BOSMANS & Koen DECANCQ & André DECOSTER, 2011. "The evolution of global inequality: absolute, relative and intermediate views," Working Papers Department of Economics ces11.03, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces11.03
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    Cited by:

    1. Subramanian Sreenivasan & Jayaraj Dhairiyarayar, 2013. "The Evolution of Consumption and Wealth Inequality in India: A Quantitative Assessment," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 253-281, November.
    2. Lin Yang, 2017. "The relationship between poverty and inequality: Concepts and measurement," CASE Papers /205, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    3. Jayaraj D. & Subramanian Sreenivasan, 2015. "Growth and Inequality in the Distribution of India.s Consumption Expenditure: 1983 to 2009-10," WIDER Working Paper Series 025, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Subbu Subramanian, 2014. "Dividing a cake (or) Distributional values in the measurement of economic inequality: an expository note," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 7(2), May.
    5. Sudhir Anand & Paul Segal, 2014. "The Global Distribution of Income," Economics Series Working Papers 714, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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