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The elephant curve of global inequality and growth

Author

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  • Facundo Alvaredo

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Lucas Chancel

    (IDDRI - Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales - Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Paris, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Thomas Piketty

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Emmanuel Saez

    (University of California [Berkeley] - University of California)

  • Gabriel Zucman

    (University of California [Berkeley] - University of California)

Abstract

The dynamics of global inequality have attracted growing attention in recent years. However, we still know relatively little about how the distribution of global income is evolving. Income inequality is increasing in many countries, but large emerging countries like India and China are catching up and might drive global inequality down. Recent studies of global inequality combine household surveys and provide valuable estimates (Lakner and Milanovic 2016, Liberati 2015, Ortiz and Cummins 2011). Surveys, however, are not uniform across countries, they cannot capture top incomes well, and are not consistent with macroeconomic totals. In this paper, we report on new estimates of global inequality presented in the World Inequality Report 2018 (Alvaredo et al., 2018). These estimates are based on recent, homogeneous inequality statistics produced for a number of countries in the World and Wealth Income Database (WID.world). We find that the global top 1% has captured twice as much total growth than the global bottom 50% between 1980 and 2016. We also analyze different projected trajectories for global inequality in the coming decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Facundo Alvaredo & Lucas Chancel & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "The elephant curve of global inequality and growth," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-02797605, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wilwps:halshs-02797605
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02797605
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    1. Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony Atkinson & Lucas Chancel & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2016. "Distributional National Accounts (DINA) Guidelines : Concepts and Methods used in WID.world," Working Papers halshs-02794308, HAL.
    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruton, Garry & Sutter, Christopher & Lenz, Anna-Katharina, 2021. "Economic inequality – Is entrepreneurship the cause or the solution? A review and research agenda for emerging economies," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 36(3).
    2. Valeria De Cristofaro & Mauro Giacomantonio & Valerio Pellegrini & Marco Salvati & Luigi Leone, 2021. "Being mindful in the tax context in Italy: Examining whether and how mindfulness relates with tax evasion intentions and support for tax progressivity," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(6), pages 1-13, June.
    3. Mrdjan Milićev Mladjan & Dušan Zvonkov Marković, 2021. "Generational Responsibility in Consumption as a Response to Global Economic Crises," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(6), pages 1-26, March.
    4. Ghulam Rasool Madni & Awais Anwar, 2021. "Meditation for level of institutional quality to combat income inequality through financial development," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 2766-2775, April.
    5. Kvedaras, Virmantas & Cseres-Gergely, Zsombor, 2021. "China’s WTO accession and income inequality in European regions: External pressure and internal adjustments," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 34-53.
    6. Moses, Mark & Kharas, Homi & Miller-Petrie, Molly & Tsakalos, Goli & Marczak, Laurie & Hay, Simon & Murray, Christopher & Dieleman, Joseph L, 2021. "Global poverty and inequality from 1980 to the COVID-19 pandemic," SocArXiv x47np, Center for Open Science.
    7. Rosario Scandurra & Ruggero Cefalo & Yuri Kazepov, 2021. "Drivers of Youth Labour Market Integration Across European Regions," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 154(3), pages 835-856, April.
    8. Andrea Coveri & Mario Pianta, 2019. "The Structural Dynamics of Income Distribution:Technology, Wages and Profits," Working Papers 1901, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2019.
    9. Saha, Anjan K. & Mishra, Vinod, 2020. "Genetic distance, economic growth and top income shares: Evidence from OECD countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 37-47.
    10. Sayed, Adham & Peng, Bin, 2020. "The income inequality curve in the last 100 years: What happened to the Inverted-U?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 63-72.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Elephant curve; income; distribution; inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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