IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fednsr/662.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

World welfare is rising: estimation using nonparametric bounds on welfare measures

Author

Listed:

Abstract

I take a new approach to measuring world inequality and welfare over time by constructing robust bounds for these series instead of imposing parametric assumptions to compute point estimates. I derive sharp bounds on the Atkinson inequality index that are valid for any underlying distribution of income conditional on given fractile shares and the Gini coefficient. While the bounds are too wide to reject the hypothesis that world inequality may have risen, I show that world welfare rose unambiguously between 1970 and 2006. This conclusion is valid for alternative methods of dealing with countries and years with missing surveys, alternative survey harmonization procedures, and alternative GDP series, or if the inequality surveys used systematically underreport the income of the very rich or suffer from nonresponse bias.

Suggested Citation

  • Pinkovskiy, Maxim L., 2014. "World welfare is rising: estimation using nonparametric bounds on welfare measures," Staff Reports 662, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:662
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr662.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chotikapanich, Duangkamon & Griffiths, William E. & Rao, D. S. Prasada, 2007. "Estimating and Combining National Income Distributions Using Limited Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 97-109, January.
    2. Ahluwalia, Montek S. & Carter, Nicholas G. & Chenery, Hollis B., 1979. "Growth and poverty in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 299-341, August.
    3. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_price_indexes_inequality_and_the_measurement_of_world_poverty_aer. is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Branko Milanovic, 2002. "True World Income Distribution, 1988 and 1993: First Calculation Based on Household Surveys Alone," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 51-92, January.
    5. T. Paul Schultz, 1998. "Inequality in the distribution of personal income in the world: How it is changing and why," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(3), pages 307-344.
    6. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-19, February.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    8. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    9. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 158-183, December.
    10. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    11. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2006. "The World Distribution of Income: Falling Poverty and … Convergence, Period," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 351-397.
    12. Singh, S K & Maddala, G S, 1976. "A Function for Size Distribution of Incomes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(5), pages 963-970, September.
    13. McDonald, James B. & Ransom, Michael R., 1981. "An analysis of the bounds for the Gini coefficient," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 177-188, November.
    14. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    15. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Price Indexes, Inequality, and the Measurement of World Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 5-34.
    16. Sanjay G. Reddy & Camelia Minoiu, 2007. "Has World Poverty Really Fallen?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(3), pages 484-502, September.
    17. Angus Deaton, 2005. "ERRATUM: Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-395, May.
    18. Abhijit Banerjee & Thomas Piketty, 2005. "Top Indian Incomes, 1922-2000," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(1), pages 1-20.
    19. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 808-842.
    20. Feng Zhu, 2005. "A nonparametric analysis of the shape dynamics of the US personal income distribution: 1962-2000," BIS Working Papers 184, Bank for International Settlements.
    21. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "How Did the World's Poorest Fare in the 1990s?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(3), pages 283-300, September.
    22. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-299, September.
    23. Cowell, Frank A., 1991. "Grouping bounds for inequality measures under alternative informational assumptions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1-2), pages 1-14.
    24. Salem, A B Z & Mount, T D, 1974. "A Convenient Descriptive Model of Income Distribution: The Gamma Density," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(6), pages 1115-1127, November.
    25. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    26. repec:pri:rpdevs:presidential%20address%2017january%202010%20all is not listed on IDEAS
    27. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2001. "The disturbing 'rise' of global income inequality," Economics Working Papers 616, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2002.
    28. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Monica Paiella, 2011. "Relative Risk Aversion Is Constant: Evidence From Panel Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(6), pages 1021-1052, December.
    29. Sudhir Anand & Paul Segal, 2008. "What Do We Know about Global Income Inequality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 57-94, March.
    30. Cowell, F.A., 2000. "Measurement of inequality," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 87-166 Elsevier.
    31. Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrea Brandolini, 2010. "On Analyzing the World Distribution of Income," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 1-37, January.
    32. François Bourguignon & Christian Morrisson, 2002. "Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 727-744, September.
    33. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    34. Surjit Bhalla, 2002. "Imagine There's No Country: Poverty, Inequality, and Growth in the Era of Globalization," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 348.
    35. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "I Just Ran Two Million Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-183, May.
    36. 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.
    37. McDonald, James B. & Xu, Yexiao J., 1995. "A generalization of the beta distribution with applications," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1-2), pages 133-152.
    38. Branko Milanovic, 2012. "Global inequality recalculated and updated: the effect of new PPP estimates on global inequality and 2005 estimates," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(1), pages 1-18, March.
    39. Anton Korinek & Johan Mistiaen & Martin Ravallion, 2006. "Survey nonresponse and the distribution of income," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 33-55, April.
    40. Lopez, Humberto & Serven, Luis, 2006. "A normal relationship ? Poverty, growth, and inequality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3814, The World Bank.
    41. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
    42. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    43. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2010. "The Developing World is Poorer than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1577-1625.
    44. repec:pri:rpdevs:presidential%20address%2017january%202010%20all.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    45. Gastwirth, Joseph L, 1972. "The Estimation of the Lorenz Curve and Gini Index," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(3), pages 306-316, August.
    46. Murray, David, 1978. "Extreme values for Gini coefficients calculated from grouped data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 389-393.
    47. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2009. "Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 15433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stefanie Hof, 2014. "Does Private Tutoring Work? The Effectiveness of Private Tutoring: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0096, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    2. Pinkovskiy, Maxim L. & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X., 2014. "Lights, camera,...income! Estimating poverty using national accounts, survey means, and lights," Staff Reports 669, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Jan 2015.
    3. Christoph Lakner & Branko Milanovic, 2016. "Global Income Distribution: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Great Recession," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 203-232.
    4. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2015. "Lights, Camera,... Income! Estimating Poverty Using National Accounts, Survey Means and Lights," LIS Working papers 645, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    5. Facundo Alvaredo & Leonardo Gasparini, 2013. "Recent Trends in Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0151, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    6. Christoph Lakner & Branko Milanovic, 2015. "La distribución global del ingreso. De la caída del muro de Berlín a la gran recesión," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 17(32), pages 71-128, January-J.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    world income distribution; inequality and welfare measures; nonparametric bounds;

    JEL classification:

    • C02 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Mathematical Economics
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:662. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Farber). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbnyus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.