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Growth, Inequality, and Well-Being: Intertemporal and Global Comparisons


  • Carola Grün

    (Department of Economics, University of the Witwatersrand)

  • Stephan Klasen


We use several well-being measures that combine average income with a measure of inequality to undertake intertemporal and global comparisons of well-being. The conclusions emerging from the intertemporal analysis are that the impact of these measures on temporal trends in well-being is relatively small on average, but changing across the decades. In particular, it suggests that changes in well-being were understated in the 1960s and 1970s and overstated in the 1980s and 1990s. Our global analysis covering ca. 81 per cent of the world’s population demonstrates that global well-being is at least 50 per cent smaller than world per capita income if the unequal income distribution is also factored in. Conversely, growth in world well-being has been larger than world income growth between 1970-1998. Since the inclusion of inequality has an important impact on well-being comparisons, it is of great importance to generate more consistent and intertemporally as well as internationally comparable data on inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Carola Grün & Stephan Klasen, 2003. "Growth, Inequality, and Well-Being: Intertemporal and Global Comparisons," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 095, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:iaidps:095

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    Cited by:

    1. Simona Šarotar Žižek & Matjaž Mulej & Sonja Treven, 2010. "Requisite Holism Of Individuals As A Precondition For The Humankind’S Way Out From The 2008- Crisis," Analele Stiintifice ale Universitatii "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" din Iasi - Stiinte Economice, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 57, pages 399-419, november.
    2. Isis Gaddis & Stephan Klasen, 2014. "Economic development, structural change, and women’s labor force participation:," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 639-681, July.
    3. Gruen, Carola & Klasen, Stephan, 2012. "Has transition improved well-being?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 11-30.
    4. Stephan Klasen, 2008. "The Efficiency of Equity," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 257-274.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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